The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released its findings via a March 2014 press release following an investigation into a fatality that occurred during a student housing renovation project. The employer has been found at fault following a worker’s fall from scaffolding.
A 19-foot Fall
The accident happened on September 20, 2013 at the campus of East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Ga. A 42-year-old worker was applying stucco to the residence hall, about 19-feet off the ground. He fell off of the scaffolding and died as a result.
Now, OSHA has cited Jack Smiley, d/b/a Smiley Plaster Company, for five different safety violations, including a failure to equip the worker with a proper safety vest that could have prevented the fall. A “willful” violation is included among the citations. Such a violation is defined as one in which an employer knowingly, intentionally or voluntarily disregards safety requirements. Or, a willful violation may be issued when an employer demonstrates an indifference to worker health and safety.
$57,000 In Fines Announced
In this case, OSHA issued a willful violation due to a failure to offer fall protection to workers more than 10 feet up on scaffolding. As a result of the willful violation, OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violater Enforcement Program. Overall, the five violations cited carry fines of $57,000. Once OSHA issues its findings, a company typically has 15 business days from its receipt of the citations to either comply with or contest the findings. Or, it may request a formal conference with the OSHA area director.
The area director for OSHA in Savannah, Ga., has stated that the employer knowingly failed to offer proper fall protection in a system of scaffolding more than 10-feet high. He went on to assert that falls are in fact the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry.
An attorney that is focused on workers compensation and related personal injury or wrongful death matters may use OSHA findings to better represent clients. To seek more information relevant to your personal or family situation, please contact us.