Region 4 News Release 01-176
Tues., Oct. 2, 2001
Contact: Jesse Baynes
Phone: (601) 965-4606 ext. 0
FATAL FALL AT OCEAN SPRINGS JOB SITE BRINGS OSHA CITATIONS, PROPOSED FINES
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. -- Failure to provide adequate fall protection for employees has resulted in one willful and three serious citations against a Louisiana company, following a fatal accident in Ocean Springs, Miss. Proposed fines total $91,000.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today it has cited Red Simpson, Inc. after an April 3 accident in which an employee fell 86 feet to his death while doing maintenance work to a switch assembly on a transmission pole. Although the employee was wearing a body harness with a lanyard, it was not attached to an anchor point capable of preventing his fall.
"This employer failed to properly train employees in fall hazards and fall protection, particularly how to tie off safely in this work environment," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson area director. "Ensuring that the proper workplace safeguards were followed could have prevented this tragic accident."
One willful citation was issued because Red Simpson allegedly failed to ensure that employees working at heights over six feet above the ground were tied off as required.
The company also received three alleged serious citations for fall-related hazards. A personnel basket attached to the boom of a crane was used to lift employees to heights up to 86 feet above the ground where they would transfer to a switch platform to do maintenance and repair work. OSHA cited the company for not ensuring that this practice was safe by securing the personnel basket to the structure to prevent movement during employee transfer and for not requiring that employees being transferred wore proper fall protection.
The remaining alleged serious citations included failing to instruct employees on fall hazards and fall protection, including properly securing a crane boom's personnel basket for stability and using fall arrest equipment correctly so that the lanyard is properly attached to an anchor point strong enough to support the required 5,000 pounds.
Red Simpson employs about 1,100 workers, 10 of whom were on the Ocean Springs site to provide general line work for Mississippi Power Company's overhead transmission facilities. OSHA has inspected the company about 20 times since 1986 - 12 times as the result of fatalities due to various causes, including electrocution, being crushed and falling.
The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The fatality inspection was conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55North, Suite 220, Jackson, Miss. 39211-6323; telephone: (601) 965-4606.