January 10, 2024
US Department of Labor finds Bradenton landscaper willfully endangered worker who drowned after being pinned underwater by riding mower.
TruScapes Industries Inc. cited in 2015 in similar employee drowning incident.
BRADENTON, FL – A 36-year-old mower operator drowned after the mower rolled over in a pond, pinning the worker underwater. Federal workplace safety inspectors determined the employer could have avoided the incident by following required safety measures outlined in the equipment operator's manual.
An investigation into the July 4, 2023, incident by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the employee of TruScapes Industries Inc. in Bradenton was riding a zero-turn lawnmower in a residential neighborhood when it tipped over into a water retention pond. Investigators learned the machine's roll-over protection system was not engaged while operating on a sloping embankment near the pond and the equipment was operated on a slope that exceeded the limitations defined in the equipment manual.
OSHA cited the employer for one willful violation for not having a rollover protection system in use and for operating the equipment on a steep slope, and one serious violation for not providing potable water for drinking. OSHA proposed $166,305 in penalties.
The agency cited TruScapes after a similarly fatal incident in Bradenton in July 2015. In that investigation, OSHA issued TruScapes Industries five serious citations and proposed $18,200 in penalties.