This past May, a 44-year-old plastering worker was killed when he fell three stories from the apartment building he was working at. He fell because the man's employer, Design Plastering Inc., had failed to provide either him or his coworkers with scaffolding or personal fall protection. This week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company for eight egregious willful and four serious violations that led to to their employee's death.
This is not the first time Design Plastering has been cited for placing its employees in harm's way. It has already received seven citations and fines totaling nearly $6,000 from Arizona's state OSHA for exposing workers to fall-related hazards. The most recent federal OSHA citations come, however, with much more hefty fines of more than $407,000.
"This senseless loss of a man's life is the result of this employer's failure to comply with clear OSHA safety requirements despite the fact that it had been previously cited for the same violations," Michaels added. "Clearly, [the] penalties were not sufficient to deter this employer's unlawful actions.""When an employer fails to put up a guardrail or scaffolding, or doesn't provide personal fall-arrest systems, anyone working at a height of six feet or more is defenseless against a fall. OSHA will not tolerate this kind of employer behavior," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
One in five private industry worker deaths in 2014 were in construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of these, falls accounted for nearly 40 percent of construction industry fatalities.
For more information on how to develop an effective accident prevention plan for your construction site, contact Safety Advantage. Our contractor safety programs can help educate safety managers on how to implement site specific safety plans that comply with up-to-date OSHA regulations. To get started, contact us today!