COLUMBIA, Mo. - An Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesperson confirmed Thursday that Nelson's Tree Service, LLC has agreed to pay $17,471 in violations after one of its employees died on the job.
OSHA opened the worker death investigation on Aug. 15, five days after a 25-year-old man was struck in the head with a tree limb in the 3900 block of Deerfoot Way in Columbia and later died.
Scott Allen, an OSHA spokesperson, said the federal agency interviewed employees and potential witnesses to the incident for its investigation.
OSHA cited Nelson's Tree Service with two violations on Oct. 26. One of those citations was categorized as a "serious." Allen said a serious citation is considered any type of hazard that might cause physical injury or death.
"It's the employer's responsibility to ensure that all the employees are trained properly to recognize hazards and make sure the conditions are appropriate for working with such dangerous equipment," Allen said. "In this case, the individual was struck by a tree limb, which could have been prevented if this company followed OSHA standards and regulations."
According to the citation, employees weren't briefed before each job, and therefore the employer failed to protect its employees while they were working. The second violation was classified as "other than serious."
Nelson's Tree Service has until Nov. 30 to pay the fines and make the appropriate workplace changes. Allen said OSHA will check back in with the business to make sure they have corrected the violations.