Last week, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a hefty $116,900 fine to an Ohio roofing company for safety violations that resulted in a deadly accident. A 53-year-old roofer lost his life when he fell 40 feet off of a commercial building. The worker was not wearing any fall safety gear.
OSHA cited R&B Contractors L.L.C. for 11 serious safety violations, one willful safety violation and three other safety citations following an investigation that showed the roofer was working on a commercial roof without using fall protection devices, guardrails or safety nets. Moreover, the investigation found the company failed to educate workers on fall hazards, did not have a safety program in place, failed to have a safety monitor, failed to have trained heavy machinery operators and failed to report injuries.
Falls are the Primary Cause of Construction Worker Deaths
In 2013, a study found there were 828 construction workers who sustained fatal injuries. Of those fatalities, 291 were caused by falls and all were entirely preventable. OSHA launched a fall prevention campaign to educate construction companies and workers on how to prevent these types of construction accidents.
OSHA breaks its fall prevention campaign down into three main steps:
According to the website, the best thing an employer can do is plan the project ahead of time to make sure the job is done in the safest manner and should include the cost of safety equipment into every job prior. This leads to the second step. If workers will need ladders, scaffolds or will be working on roofs, employers need to provide the proper fall protection gear. Certain ladders or scaffold are applicable to different jobs, and harnesses must be provided for workers on roofs. Finally, employers have a responsibility to educate workers on the safe use of equipment and fall hazard recognition.
Could R&B Contractors Have Prevented This Worker’s Death?
The death of this worker could have been prevented, had the Ohio-based contracting company provided its workers with adequate fall protection gear and training. Given the number of safety violations this company was issued, OSHA’s fines should have been more severe.
Our Columbus workers comp lawyer fight for workers who have been injured in construction accidents in the Columbus, Shadyside, Zanesville and Newark areas in Ohio.