Eric McClellan’s work-related death could have been prevented. That’s how I see the findings from Virginia-OSHA in the agency’s citations against his employer Reynolds Metals, a subsidiary of Alcoa.

The 55 year-old was working in November 2015 at the company’s plant in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The initial press reports indicated that McClellan got “caught in a machine.” I wrote about the incident shortly after it occurred.

Virginia-OSHA issued a citation to Reynolds Metals for one serious violation related to machine guarding. Specifically, a guard

“designed and constructed as to prevent the operator from having any part of his body in the danger zone during the operating cycle.” (1910.212(a)(3)(ii)).

The company paid a $7,000 penalty and the Virginia-OSHA case is closed.

When some local press initially reported Eric McClellan’s death, they called it an accident. An “accident” suggests the circumstances were unforeseen or could not have been avoided. Virginia-OSHA’s findings tell a different story. Call it cutting corners, call it poor management, call it breaking the law. Whatever you want to call it, McClellan’s work-related death could have been prevented, it was no accident.