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OSHA News Release – Region 7
U.S. Department of Labor
Jan. 14, 2016
Fall protection could have prevented 39-year-old worker's death
OSHA cites Custom Contracting in October fatality in Raymond, Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. - A newly hired, 39-year-old worker who fell through a roof in October 2015 and later died, could have been saved if his employer provided required fall protection, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.
The man, just two weeks on the job, was installing metal roofing sheets on a commercial building in Raymond for Custom Contracting Inc., his Lincoln-based employer, when he fell more than 20 feet to the concrete below and suffered fatal injuries. Federal inspectors found Custom Contracting failed to provide fall protection that could have saved the man's life. An OSHA investigation into the Oct. 24, 2015 incident led the agency to cite Custom Contracting for six serious safety violations on Jan. 14.
Falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers. In 2014, falls accounted for nearly 40 percent of all construction fatalities.
"Fatal incidents like these are entirely preventable. They have tragic consequences for the victims, their families, and their communities," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "Construction industry employers must protect workers from falls which continue to be the leading cause of worker's death in the construction industry."
Investigators determined that two workers were installing metal roof sheets on a structural steel building when one of the workers stepped into an opening created by the removal of the adjacent metal roofing sheet and fell. Custom Contracting did not provide the roof workers with required fall protection, such as safety nets or a personal fall-arrest system, OSHA inspectors found.
The agency also found the company failed to train workers to:
- Recognize fall hazards.
- Render first aid.
- Operate powered industrial vehicles.
As the construction industry continues to grow, falls continue to be the leading cause of death.
In addition, guard rails were not installed on open sides and ends of platforms to prevent falls, and lift trucks were found to be modified without manufacturer's approval.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $36,000. View current citations here.
OSHA has created a Stop Falls online resource 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.
The agency's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which began in 2012, was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. The campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use that gear properly.
Custom Contracting 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 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 Omaha office at 402-553-0171.
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.
Release Number: 16-26-KAN
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).
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