OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release USDL: 96-438
Thursday, October 17, 1996
Contact: Frank Kane, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Proposes $396,200 In Fines Against Noblesville, Ind., Steel Erection Firm Following Death Of Worker
An investigation into the death of a steel erection worker who fell 35 feet from a roof has resulted in a proposed $396,200 fine against C & S Erectors of Noblesville, Ind.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Joseph A. Dear, said, "C & S showed total indifference to the safety of its employees. This attitude, which led to a tragic death, merits stiff penalties.
"Falls are a leading cause of death in construction work," Dear said. "Yet C & S failed to take even basic precautions to protect its workers."
The accident occurred May 1 while Brian Smith, the C & S employee, was laying steel decking for a roof on a large warehouse for the Sid Tool Co. in Jonestown, Pa. Smith fell through a gap in the decking. Jonestown is near Harrisburg, Pa.
C & S supervisors ignored repeated warnings from the project's general contractor concerning unsafe work practices during the days prior to Brian Smith's fatal fall.
C & S was cited for alleged willful egregious and serious violations involving failure to train employees in recognizing fall hazards; lack of fall protection while engaged in steel erection and decking work 35 feet above ground; lack of guard rails while working on an elevated platform; unsafe operation of a forklift truck; improper placing of ladders on scaffolds; and not training employees in the safe use of ladders.
C & S, which performs steel erection work throughout the nation, has had 15 previous OSHA inspections by both federal and state OSHA inspectors since 1984. Two of these inspections involved fatalities. Of the 15 inspections, 11 resulted in citations, some for numerous fall hazards.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
A serious violation is defined as 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.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
(Editor's Note: See attached summary of violations.)
C & S Erectors
Summary of Violations At Jonestown, Pa Worksite
Alleged Egregious Willful Violation
Three instances of failing to train an employee to recognize and avoid hazards in elevated steel erection and decking work; proposed penalty of $56,000 per instance, for a total penalty of $168,000.
Alleged Willful Violations
Lack of fall protection for employees doing steel erection and decking work 35 feet above ground, proposed penalty of $56,000.
Lack of guarding on a work platform on the forks of a lift truck 31 feet above ground, proposed penalty of $56,000.
Operator leaving a lift truck unattended while employees are working on the elevated platform, proposed penalty of $56,000.
Grouped violations involving improper placing of a ladder on a five-foot high scaffold section to extend the ladder, failing to extend a ladder three feet above a landing area, exposing employees to a 35-foot fall, and failure to train employees in the hazards and safe use of ladders, proposed penalty of $56,000.
Alleged Serious Violation
Failure to secure the platform on the forks of lift truck, proposed penalty of $4,200.
Total proposed penalties, $396,200.
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