Jan. 5, 2015
OSHA cites Piasa, Illinois, roofing company for worker fatality
Company fails to provide fall protection on job site
PIASA, Ill. – A 33-year-old worker fell to his death because his employer, Mid-State Construction & Roofing Inc., failed to provide fall protection. The employee was installing roofing materials at Southwest High School in Piasa on Aug. 4, 2014, when he fell 27 feet to the ground and suffered blunt force trauma. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the roofing company for one willful and four serious safety violations.
"This tragedy illustrates how quickly a worker can lose his life when fall protection is not provided, and why OSHA requires it each time an employee works at heights greater than 6 feet," said Aaron Priddy, OSHA's area director in Fairview Heights. "Falls remain the leading cause of deaths in the construction industry. Hundreds of workers, including this one, won't return home as a result of falls like this."
OSHA's investigation found the employee, who had been with the Beecher City-based company for 14 years, was installing wood blocking to create a finished roof edge on the perimeter of the high school gymnasium. While using a battery-powered, hand-held impact driver, the bit broke and the employee lost his balance and fell over the edge. The employer failed to provide and ensure the employee was using fall protection when the incident occurred.
OSHA cited Mid-State Construction for four serious violations for failure to provide adequate fall protection, train workers in its use and conduct regular inspections of the work site and equipment. An OSHA violation is serious 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.
Mid-State Construction also was cited for one willful violation for not properly maintaining a warning-line system as a means of fall protection for the five employees working on the roof. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $42,600. OSHA maintains a 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. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.
OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to create a plan to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use that equipment properly. The campaign launched in 2012. It was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program.
Mid-States Construction has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 Fairview Heights Area Office at (618) 632-8612.
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: 14-2252-CHI
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