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2 workers killed in separate ‘preventable tragedies’

Two workers in eastern Idaho were killed in separate incidents when the vehicles they were working under fell from their makeshift supports and crushed them early this year, the U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday.

In the first incident, on Jan. 12, a mechanic for VH Trucking & Construction of Menan was performing transmission work under a truck supported by wooden blocks. The truck fell from the blocks, killing the mechanic.

The second incident occurred two weeks later when an employee of Cross’s Crashes Inc. in Idaho Falls was crushed and killed under a van that had been supported by wheel rims.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Boise Area Office found neither business had basic safety programs or precautions in place, and the companies didn’t take steps to secure the vehicles. In addition, investigators said they found forklift-related hazards at both locations.

OSHA has proposed fines of $16,800 for VH Trucking & Construction and $9,800 for Cross’s Crashes.

“Lives and communities are forever changed when preventable tragedies like these occur,” said Dave Kearns, OSHA area director in Boise. “We send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of these two men. The employers’ failure to identify these hazardous conditions cost the lives of working members of the community. We must do everything to prevent these incidents from happening.”

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. To report hazards or accidents, call (800) 321-OSHA or the agency’s Boise Area Office at (208) 321-2960.

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