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Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-59
Tues., April 3, 2001
Contact: Clyde Payne
Phone: (601) 965-4606
OSHA CITES CELL PHONE TOWER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOLLOWING FATAL FALL
OSHA has cited Louisville, Ky.-based MCS Telecom, Inc., for six serious safety violations and proposed $25,300 in penalties following the investigation of a fatal accident at a Moss Point, Miss., cellular telephone tower construction site.
Almost one-third of the planned 340-foot structure had been completed Jan. 12, when the MCS employee attached the hook of his body belt to the tower, preparing to add another 20-foot section. As he worked, the hook -- which had a defective closure without a locking device -- detached from the tower and he fell 100 feet.
"This employer failed to provide workers with proper safety equipment, and did not inspect safety equipment that was supplied by the workers. In addition to being defective, the hook involved in this accident was not designed to be used with personal protective equipment," Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson, Miss., area director, said.
"Fatalities are increasing in this fast-paced industry," Payne added. "We often see contracts stipulating that towers be completed within a certain number of work hours. Speed must not override safety."
OSHA cited the company for not providing employees with proper fall protection and fall arrest systems. Serious citations were also issued for failure to inspect equipment for damage and wear; provide fall protection training to employees, and have a person trained in first-aid and first-aid supplies at the site.
A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
MCS Telecom, Inc., employs about 40 workers, five of whom were working at the Moss Point site. The company has 15 working days from receipt of OSHA's citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection of the Moss Point job site was conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, Jackson, Mississippi. 39211; telephone: (601) 965-4606.
OSHA urges employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the Jackson area office. OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
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