IOSHA Cites Anderson Company After Man’s Death | New
ANDERSON – Dondi Edwards was run over in an accident at Mofab Inc. more than seven months after the Indiana Department of Labor discovered safety deficiencies with a crane it was operating at the time of the crash.
Edwards, 53, died hours after the accident on November 2, 2020.
Sam Bartels was also injured in the Mofab crash, but he survived and remains in physiotherapy for an arm injury.
After Edwards’ death, the State Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) conducted a site inspection on November 4, 2020, revealing that Mofab had not corrected the deficiencies found during an inspection on March 31, 2020.
However, Mason Haines, one of Mofab’s owners, and CFO Blane Trinkle said the safety issue noted in March did not contribute to Edwards’ crash and death.
“The shortcomings had nothing to do with the lifting capacity of the crane,” Trinkle said. “The crane did not fail. It’s pretty clear that the strap failed.
The violations listed by IOSHA – all classified as serious – included the use of a damaged or faulty sling, as well as the following:
• Exit routes that have not been kept free and cleared.
• Employees using side pull with a crane, putting stress on parts of the crane and exposing employees to hazards.
• A damaged or defective sling used during movement of the product beyond its rated capacity, exposing workers to hazards.
• Employees were not kept clear of suspended loads or loads about to be lifted by a sling.
• Slings and ties were not inspected daily or removed from service when damaged or defective.
• Electrical equipment was not free from hazards that could result in death or serious injury to employees.
The failure to correct the deficiencies noted on March 31 resulted in a serious violation by the agency with a proposed fine of $ 7,000. A total of eight serious violations were documented by IOSHA in a Safety Order and Penalty Notice issued on April 30, 2021, with a proposed total fine of $ 46,250.
“It doesn’t seem like much about someone’s death,” said Edwards’ sister Tabatha Rolph.
Another relative of Rolph worked at Mofab and called her when the accident happened to tell her it was “really serious”.
“I live in Marion and work in Blackford County,” Rolph said, bursting into tears as he recalled the day his brother died.
“I went to pick up our aunt, who is like our mother, and somehow we missed a call from Dondi. We never received that last phone call. We don’t know what he meant.
Mofab officials said a colleague, not Edwards, used the cell phone after the crash to try to contact family members.
As the family rushed to Anderson, they couldn’t see Edwards until he was rushed to an Indianapolis hospital, according to Rolph.
They traveled to Indianapolis and when they got to the hospital they were told that one of Edwards’ legs would need to be amputated and that he had lost a lot of blood.
Rolph said they were told they would see his brother in about 20 minutes. This time had passed before the arrival of two doctors in the waiting room. They informed the family that Edwards’ heart had failed and he was dead.
“They were pumping him (the blood) as fast as he was losing it,” Rolph said in tears.
The family was not aware of any of Mofab’s IOSHA violations released in April.
“I know Dondi loved his job,” Rolph said. “I do not know what happened. All I know is I lost my brother.
Rolph said Mofab paid for his brother’s funeral but the family paid for his burial vault.
“He left behind children, grandchildren and a daughter in the military,” Rolph said. “He was my big brother, and it will certainly be different without him.”
Family owned and operated, Mofab, 1415 Fairview Street, employs 55 people and specializes in custom metal welding and fabrication, including the creation of decorative iron gates, fences and other ornamental hardware.
“We’ve been here for a long time,” said Haines, part owner of the company. “My grandfather started (Mofab) in 1958.”
Trinkle said Mofab never had serious IOSHA violations, no serious injuries, and never died before November 2020.
“It was a tragic accident,” Trinkle said. “He was part of our Mofab family.”
Trinkle said Sam Bartels, also injured in the November 2020 crash, suffered a serious arm injury but is expected to make a full recovery. The company, Trinkle said, looks forward to his return to work at Mofab.
Attempts to contact Bartels for comment in this article were unsuccessful.
Kyle Kadinger, safety consultant for Mofab, said the company started working with Elite Safety Services in August 2020 to strengthen its safety program.
“Since that time, Elite Safety Services has helped Mofab complete employee retraining on a wide variety of safety-related topics, review their safety policies and procedures, and perform a thorough review of all equipment to improve their security program, ”Kadinger said in an email.
Trinkle and Kadinger said they plan to attend an informal conference with IOSHA to show what the company has done to respond to safety orders issued following the crash.
“Mofab takes all accidents very seriously and continues to offer its deepest condolences to Dondi Edwards’ family,” said Kadinger.