• OSHA Fines Contractor $511,000 for Failing to Provide Fall Protection Resulting in Worker Fatality
  • March 16, 2015
  • Law Firm: Goldberg Segalla LLP - Buffalo Office
  • On July 25, 2014, a 22-year-old apprentice ironworker in Kansas City, Missouri was standing on a 9-inch-wide steel girder on a building under construction and fell more than 30 feet to his death. In its citation dated January 21, 2015, OSHA cited the employer structural steel company for seven willful and three serious safety violations, placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and issued proposed penalties against the company totaling $511,000.

    OSHA’s investigation found that the deceased worker’s employer violated its own safety manual and its contract with the project’s general contractor, which required employees working higher than 6 feet from the ground to be provided with adequate fall protection.

    Specifically, the citation notes that the worker “was required and/or permitted to climb the open web steel trusses/joists, in accessing the upper steel surface, to land material and perform connecting work without being protected from falling to the next lower level greater than 30 feet below.”

    OSHA further found that the company allowed workers to climb the scissor lift guardrails to access the steel frame and decking, allowed workers to climb the rails of the lift basket, used makeshift devices on scaffold platforms to increase working height, did not inspect fall arrest systems before use, and failed to instruct workers on the use and application of fall protection equipment.

    This announcement underscores that implementing a fall prevention plan, providing proper equipment, and training employees to use that equipment properly saves money and, more importantly, saves lives.