‘It’s just still shocking:’ Family reacts to OSHA investigation findings of 22-year-old’s manufacturing death

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — While a family is still reeling from the tragic death of their son, OSHA findings say the company where he died is at fault.

New details are coming to light in the tragic death of an employee at a Mobile Dredging Equipment manufacturer. Back in January, 22-year-old William Khemmanivanh was pulled into a pully apparatus while on a crane and died. Federal inspectors with Occupational Health and Safety Administration launched an investigation, those findings revealed the incident could have been prevented.

OSHA determined SPI/Mobile Pulley Works failed to ensure a safe work environment. The family is still reeling from his death.

“It’s just still shocking and just emotional as well,” William’s sister Jinda Khemmanivanh said.

Anthony Sengsiri William’s cousin is feeling those same emotions.

“It’s still hard to believe. It’s been six months and seeing what OSHA released and all of the penalties that were proven and everything,” Sengsiri said.

The investigation showed Khemmanivanh was working to repair a 50-ton hoist while guiding a heavy steel cable onto a hoist drum when he was caught in a crane trolley’s drive shaft and died. Those inspectors with OSHA say Mobile Pulley Works failed to ensure workers, like Khemmanivanh, were removed from the structure of the crane or out of its path while it was in operation.

The company was hit with almost $90,000 in penalties, a number that doesn’t amount to the hole left in the lives of those who loved and cherished Khemmanivanh.

“It’s really tough because he’s that person that would do anything to make you smile or laugh, and he’s just a really peaceful person as well,” Jinda said.

Sengsiri, emotional as well, said, “He was a peacemaker and he always wanted everyone to have fun, you know, and make sure everyone was taken care of or if they needed help or anything.”

Khemmanivanh’s preventable death is not the only area of concern for Mobile Pulley Works. OSHA inspectors found 11 serious and two other-than-serious 13 violations including:

  • Allowed employees to work near unguarded equipment, which exposed them to struck-by and caught-in hazards.
  • Failed to conduct periodic inspections of the crane.
  • Exposed workers to respiratory hazards by requiring employees to wear half-mask negative pressure respirators without proper fit tests, and did not provide training on respirator use to minimize the number of employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
  • Failed to provide proper training on fall protection systems, exposing workers to fall hazards.
  • Failed to inspect alloy steel chain slings used for rigging.

WKRG News 5 reached out to Mobile Pulley Works over the last few days. We called and emailed several times for a response to OSHA’s findings but never received an answer.

Sengsiri hopes things will be safer for other employees there moving forward.

“Hopefully, they just make sure everything is right, and they take care of all of the safety things, cause it’s not just about him but everybody… Everybody wants to come home,” Sengsiri said.

The company has a chance to dispute the penalties or present evidence to adjust the claim, but if they accept full responsibility, Mobile Pulley Works will have to pay $89,141 in fines in full and make appropriate corrective action.

To read more about OSHA’s investigation and findings, you can find the full document here.

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