May 21, 2015
Roofing contractor's willful disregard of fall prevention standards
leads to death of worker who fell through skylight
OSHA says proper protection could have avoided 'preventable' fatality
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Skylights are a useful way to allow sunlight into a room or other space, but without safety guards or covers, they can expose rooftop workers to catastrophic falls, serious injury and death.
Atop a warehouse on Powers Avenue in Jacksonville, roofer John W. Miles III crashed through a skylight without an adequate safety cage and plunged more than 24 feet to the ground below. He was admitted to an area hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries.
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors responded to the scene to investigate. They found Pinnacle Roofing Contractors Inc., Miles' employer, had failed to install protective cages over the skylights and cited the Jacksonville-based company for two willful and two serious violations. OSHA has proposed that the company be placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"While some skylights on the warehouse roof had safeguards installed, workers were not protected from fall hazards sufficiently. If Pinnacle Roofing had been more diligent, John Miles would be with us today," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville.
OSHA issued two willful citations to the company for allowing employees to work at heights greater than 6 feet without guardrails or fall protection and for not installing protective systems on the skylights. Two serious citations were issued for failing to ensure the edge of the roof was marked and for not installing skylight protection systems capable of supporting a worker's fall. Proposed penalties total $154,000.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PinnacleRoofingInc_1009968.pdf*
In a previous OSHA inspection, Pinnacle was also cited for fall safety hazards. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
In 2013, falls killed 294 of the 796 construction workers who died on-the-job in the U.S. OSHA has created a National Fall Prevention Stand-Down campaign to prevent falls in construction. Falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers. OSHA has also created a Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction*.
Visit the fall prevention Web page, which has 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.
Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that fatal work injuries in Florida accounted for 239 of the 4,405 fatal work* injuries reported nationally in 2013. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov.
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 Jacksonville Area Office at 904-232-2895.
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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Release Number: 15-884-ATL (158)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.