An Alcoa Davenport Works employee who died at the plant in July was doing maintenance on a piece of machinery that wasn’t properly secured, according to a federal report released Wednesday.
The July 16 death of Robert Leech prompted an investigation by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which is citing the Riverdale facility with six violations deemed “serious” and proposing a fine of $37,800.
OSHA inspectors discovered that about the time of the fatal accident in the facility’s sheet finishing department, a threader table attached to a coil slitter “was not pinned in place” after being positioned, the report states.
“The employer did not specifically address energy control procedures for controlling movement of the threader table due to gravity,” the report states.
The report doesn’t mention Leech, a 45-year-old father of five from Wheatland, Iowa.
Jens Nissen, an Iowa OSHA spokesman, confirmed Wednesday that Leech was doing maintenance on the machinery when the accident occurred, resulting in “traumatic injuries.” He added that the machinery was involved in the incident.
Nissen declined to comment on the exact cause of Leech’s death, saying an OSHA fatality and catastrophe investigation form eventually will be listed on the federal OSHA website outlining more details of the death.
Alcoa spokesman John Riches said the company has arranged to meet with OSHA either today or Friday to “finalize the citation.”
“We have received the report, and we’re reviewing it,” Riches said, declining further comment.
All six violations are related to the same piece of machinery, the report shows.
“The employer had not performed a periodic inspection of the No. 14 coil slitter lockout procedures to ensure any deficiencies were identified,” the report states.
The report also states Alcoa did not ensure anyone maintaining the machinery received training on “all applicable hazardous energy sources, including gravity.”
Leech had been employed as a general mechanic at the Davenport Works since March.
He worked for nine years at Archer Daniels Midland Co. in Clinton and at Monsanto in Muscatine before joining Alcoa, according to his obituary. He also coached Little League baseball.
A memorial fund in his name was established at First Trust and Savings Bank in Wheatland.
Cathy Cartee of Davenport, the attorney representing the Leech family, said Alcoa has assisted with some of the family’s financial needs since the accident, including paying for the burial expenses and grief counseling for family members.
“Alcoa has been more than kind to this family,” Cartee said. “They’ve been reasonable to deal with and sympathetic to the Leech family.”
The family still struggles with the death and continues to inquire about exactly what happened, Cartee said.
The last fatal workplace accident at the Riverdale plant occurred in 2000.