A Sheldon business has been fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for multiple violations related to a workplace death that occurred last fall.

Initial penalties totaling $34,923 to Tractor Central LLC were later reduced to $26,190 total after informal settlements, OSHA records state. The case was closed on July 5.

David Nelson, 52, of Conrath, was killed in the incident. He died from his injuries prior to being transported by Life Link III.

According to OSHA records, at about 12:15 p.m., on Nov. 15, 2018, a sales employee was preparing to load a pre-owned John Deere tractor, Model 6420, for delivery to a customer. The shifting linkage was inoperable and disconnected due to a mechanical issue. While the tractor was running, the employee went beneath the tractor to manually shift it into reverse. The controls on the top side of the tractor were set at B1 allowing the tractor to move once shifted into reverse from the underside.

Moving the linkage into reverse with the top controls set at B1 put the tractor into a slow backwards direction. The employee was lying under the tractor when it started moving. The employee was run over by the left front tire and became caught under the loader bucket. The tractor dragged the employee until it came to a rest against a neighboring building. The running tractor and employee were found by a coworker and lifesaving attempts were made. The employee died as a result of the crushing injuries.

OSHA records list three violations identified as serious, each with an initial $11,641 penalty. Each of the penalties was later reduced to $8,730 following informal settlements. A fourth serious violation carried no penalty.

The first violation cited Standard 1910-0147-C-01 involving an energy control program. The employer shall establish a program consisting of energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections to ensure that before any employee performs any servicing or maintenance on a machine or equipment where the unexpected energizing, startup or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or equipment shall be isolated from the energy source and rendered inoperative.

A second violation cited Standard 1910-0147-C-07-I-A involving the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout). Each authorized employee shall receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control.

A third violation cited Standard 1910-0147-D-04-I involving the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout). Lockout or tagout devices shall be affixed to each energy isolating device by authorized employees.

A fourth violation that carried no penalty cited Standard 1910-0147-C-07-I-B involving the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout). Each affected employee shall be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedure.

Petitions to modify the informal settlements resulted in no changes to the final penalties.

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