US Department of Labor's OSHA cites 8 employers for safety violations
following death of worker who fell 29 feet at Texas construction site
AUSTIN, Texas – The Underwood Group Inc., along with seven subcontractors, was cited for safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to provide workers with required fall protection equipment. As a result, a worker fell 29 feet to his death at a condominium construction site in Canyon Lake. The proposed penalties total $53,480. OSHA cited The Underwood Group of Cornelia, Georgia, with one willful and one serious violation, with a penalty of $15,600. San Antonio-based MZ Flooring Partners, a painting contractor who employed the now-deceased worker, was cited for two serious violations and a penalty of $8,600.
"The cost of providing fall prevention equipment is nominal compared with the senseless loss of life. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities recorded in 2012," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "One fall can seriously injure a worker, or in this case, cost a worker his life. Such negligence will not be tolerated."
The remaining six contractors include Longhorn Concrete Co., cited for three serious violations with a $10,080 penalty; Meekins Electric Co., Chabert Plumbing LLC, Bowers Construction Co. and Luis Guajardo, each cited for two serious violations with a $4,400 penalty; and Cutting Edge Builders, cited for one serious violation with a penalty of $1,600.
To prevent fall-related injuries and fatalities, OSHA held the 2014 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction event in June. An estimated 1 million workers and 25,000 businesses and industry leaders put a halt to their work for one hour during that week to discuss the importance of recognizing fall hazards and implementing fall safety measures. The event was part of OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which aims to provide lifesaving information and educational materials to employers regarding how to prevent falls and provide workers with the proper safety equipment.
The employers have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & 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 Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271.
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.
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).