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Oct. 2, 2014 BOS 2014-166

 

Wolcott, Connecticut, roofing contractor cited for fall hazards
after fatal worker fall in Watertown, Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. – The death of a 28-year-old worker who fell 18 feet from a roof could have been prevented if proper fall protection safeguards had been used by M&M Roofing, of Wolcott, an inspection by the Hartford Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.

The employee was removing shingles from the roof of a house at 89 Flintrock Road on July 12, 2014, in Watertown, Connecticut, when he fell, dying four days later as result of his injuries. OSHA's inspection found that, while the worker was wearing a safety harness, it was not tied to an independent anchorage point when he fell.

"Being tied to an independent anchorage point is a critical element of fall protection. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop a worker from falling and suffering a fatal or disabling injury," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "While nothing can bring this young man back to his loved ones or co-workers, employers and workers should be aware of this needless loss of life and take steps to review their fall protection programs, so that future incidents like this one can be prevented."

OSHA cited M&M Roofing for similar hazards three times since 2011 at work sites in Enfield, Wolcott and Manchester. Following the latest inspection, it cited the company for a repeat violation for failure to provide workers with fall protection at the Watertown job site. M&M Roofing was also cited for two serious violations for an unguarded skylight and for allowing employees to work close to a powered electrical line.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three workers died in construction-related falls in Connecticut in 2012. To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards among workers, employers and the public, OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

M&M Roofing, which faces a total of $40,600 in fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report 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 Hartford office at 860-240-3152.

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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Media Contacts:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
Andre J. Bowser, 617-565-2074, bowser.andre.j@dol.gov

Release Number: 14-1770-BOS


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