May 31, 2016
Despite fatal fall in 2011, San Antonio steel erection company
continues to expose workers to potentially deadly fall hazards
W.S. Steel Erection's history of safety violations continues, faces $175K in fines
Employer name: W.S. Steel Erection LLC
Worksite: Brookshire Brothers Grocery store, Canyon Lake, Texas
Citations issued: May 31, 2016
Investigation findings: Five times in five years, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated W.S. Steel Erection LLC. Four of those investigations were for exposing workers to falls, including one in 2011 when an employee fell approximately 17 feet from a roof and later died. The latest inspection began on Dec. 1, 2015 after an OSHA investigator saw one worker on a platform supported by a forklift and other employees working from an aerial lift, none of whom used fall prevention equipment.
As a result, OSHA cited the company for two repeat violations for exposing workers to fall hazards repeatedly. Inspectors found employees working from scaffolding more than 10 feet above a lower level without fall protection and others working from an aerial lift without a harness and lanyard attached to the lift's basket.
The agency issued six serious violations for not ensuring:
- The forklift operator remained in the cab, in direct line of sight of an employee supported by a platform.
- Frequent and regular safety inspections were completed.
- Workers used eye protection when operating powered hand tools.
- Personnel platforms were attached to the forks of the lift.
- Employees stood firmly on the floor of an aerial lift basket.
- Training and evaluating employees prior to operating a powered industrial truck.
This investigation was initiated as part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Construction.
Proposed Penalties: $175,700.
Quote: "W.S. Steel continues to expose its employees to the danger of fatal falls, despite the tragic death of one of its workers in a fall in 2011," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "We were fortunate that our investigator intervened this time and the workers at the site went home safely. We hope these citations will serve to remind this employer and others how dangerous falls are. In fact, they are a leading cause of deaths in the construction industry."
Links to the citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WSSteelErectionLLC_1109160.pdf
Information: Headquartered in San Antonio, W.S. Steel Erection is steel fabrication and erection company with approximately 75 employees. The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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Juan Rodríguez, 972-850-4709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Release Number: 16-1074-DAL (141)
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