A 19-year-old died after a concrete mixer he was inside cleaning was accidentally started up. His employers could have prevented his death, the Labor Department says.

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A 19-year-old worker suffered “fatal injuries” after cleaning out a concrete mixer, the Department of Labor says.The machine restarted while he was inside, the DOL said.The DOL called his death a “preventable tragedy” and proposed penalties totalling $245,546.

A company could have prevented the death of a 19-year-old worker caused by a concrete pan mixer starting with him inside, the Department of Labor claims.

The DOL said that in March, two workers at a site in Cantonment, northwest Florida climbed inside the mixer to clean it by chipping away hardened concrete using a hammer and chisel.

“As one of the workers left the mixer, the machine restarted with the other inside,” causing him to suffer “fatal injuries,” the DOL said.

The DOL cited the company, the Georgia-based Foley Products Company, for one willful violation and six serious violations of workplace-safety laws, with proposed penalties totalling $245,546.

“Foley Products Company’s failure to implement well-known safeguards cost the life of a worker just beginning their adulthood,” Jose A. Gonzalez, the Mobile, Alabama area office director for the DOL’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration, said in a statement.

He called the worker’s death a “preventable tragedy.”

The violations identified by the DOL included exposing workers to caught-in hazards and a “potential hazardous atmosphere,” not ensuring there was an employee near the mixer to safely retrieve workers if needed, and allowing the workers to clean the mixer without making sure they fully understood how to use energy control devices.

The company also didn’t test the interior of the mixer for oxygen, flammable gases and vapors, and toxic air contaminants, the DOL said.

The company, which is more than 40 years old, supplies the Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee Departments of Transportation and the City of Atlanta, among other agencies and municipalities.

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