- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An appeals court on Wednesday upheld $10,000 in fines for safety violations by UPS that were linked to an employee’s death in 2010 at its Des Moines airport facility.

The Iowa Court of Appeals sided with the Employment Appeal Board, which found that Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. committed two serious violations of Iowa workplace safety law.

The case stems from the September 2010 death of employee Daniel Raber, 64, who was hit by a truck while holding open the gate in the early morning. Raber was pinned against a guard shack by the truck and then run over after he fell to the ground. The driver was in training and worked for CRST, a Cedar Rapids company that did contract work for UPS.

Iowa’s labor commissioner investigated UPS after Raber’s death, concluding that poor lighting and a lack of training on how to open the gate had put employees at risk of being crushed. The company was issued two $5,000 citations for violating its general duty to provide safe conditions for employees.

UPS has appealed the violations for years, arguing they were unfounded. In particular, the company argued that the poor lighting and lack of training were not hazards recognized by the industry and that there was no feasible way to eliminate them. An administrative law judge sided with the company and threw out the citations, but the Employment Appeal Board reinstated them.

The appeals court ruled 3-0 that the board’s decision was supported by substantial evidence and justified.

In a statement, UPS spokesman Dan McMackin said, “UPS is disappointed with the decision rendered in the case in Iowa and we are considering our options, which include an appeal.”

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