U.S. Department of Labor | May 3, 2016 BOS 2016-066
Worker's fall from Newton rooftop could have been prevented: OSHA
Citations to Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning highlight 'persistent and common' safety violation
ANDOVER, Mass. - Two employees of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning and General Contracting of Massachusetts were doing their job atop a roof at 19 Columbus St. in Newton on Nov. 29, 2015, when one of them fell. He initially a hit a lower roof 11 feet below then fell another 15 feet to the ground and was injured. An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that his fall was preventable if his employer ensured the use of proper and effective safeguards.
"Fall hazards are a persistent and common violation, one we encounter almost daily. Falls are a leading cause of death, particularly among workers in construction. What's frustrating is that falls are among the most easily preventable of hazards, but only if employers provide and ensure the use of fall protection every day at every workplace," said Anthony Covello, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties.
In the Newton case, Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning failed to ensure the use of protective equipment when the workers went atop the roof and also failed to guard two skylights through which the workers could also have fallen. OSHA had also previously cited the company in 2014 for lack of protective equipment at a Leonia, New Jersey, jobsite. As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning on April 25for one repeated and one serious violation of workplace safety standards. Proposed fines total $45,500. The citations can be viewed here.*
Headquartered in Fairfield, New Jersey, Ned Stevens provides gutter cleaning, repair and installation and other services in 11 states, most on the Eastern seaboard as well as in Illinois and Texas. Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction work. Two workers in Middlesex County died in work-related falls between October 2014 and October 2015. OSHA has an ongoing fall prevention campaign to educate and encourage employers to prevent falls by planning ahead to do the job safely, provide workers with the proper protective equipment and train workers to use the equipment safely.
OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training are leading the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction which will occur between May 2 and May 6. The Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event during which employers will pause during their workday to talk directly to employees about safety, hold safety demonstrations and train employees on how to recognize hazards and prevent falls.
"Preventing falls is a full-time responsibility for employers. A Stand-Down event is a good opportunity for them to refresh and reinforce basic safety principles so that every one of their employees is able to return home whole and healthy at the end of every workday," said Covello.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Andover Area Office at 978-837-4460.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov .
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Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, firstname.lastname@example.org
Release Number: 16-883-BOS
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