Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-64
Wed., April 18, 2001
Contact: Susan Johnston
Phone: (404) 984-8700 ext. 0
OSHA CITES ATLANTA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AFTER FATAL FALL
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Atlanta-based Turner Construction Co. April 5 for serious safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $42,000 in connection with the death of a United Rentals employee at a demolition site.
As part of the demolition and remodeling of a downtown retail building, a construction crew removed an escalator, creating a floor opening. This unguarded opening was obscured by a tarp installed to control dust. On Jan. 4, a United Rentals employee, on-site to repair equipment, fell 17 feet through the opening.
"Construction companies know that floor openings are a common hazard and falls are a leading cause of death in the industry," said Susan Johnston, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "This company should have had increased awareness because they were cited previously for this hazard at a New York construction site."
OSHA cited the company for one repeat violation with a proposed penalty of $35,000 for the unguarded floor hole. A serious citation drew additional penalties of $7,000 for failure to close off an undesignated access way to the hazardous location.
OSHA defines a repeat violation as one where an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Turner Construction Co. employs approximately 4200 workers and had five at this site. The company has 15 working days from receipt of OSHA's citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by OSHA's Atlanta-West area office located at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga., 30080-2968; telephone: (770) 984-8700.