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June 28, 2024
OSHA cites Tennessee contractor in fatal New York fall

A.W. Stiles Contractors Inc., a McMinnville, Tennessee, contractor, faces $83,885 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines following a fatal fall at a Smyrna, New York, jobsite, the agency announced June 25.

OSHA inspectors found that A.W. Stiles failed to provide the worker who was fatally injured and three others with effective fall protection, exposing them to falls of 23 feet (ft) as they replaced an aluminum standing seam roof on a building at Baillie Lumber Co. Investigators also determined that the company neglected to ensure its employees were trained on fall hazards, in the use of personal fall arrest systems, and on the correct procedures for installing, maintaining, and inspecting fall protection systems on-site.

OSHA says A.W. Stiles also failed to design, install, and use fall protection systems at the Smyrna worksite under the supervision of a qualified person. The limited fall protection systems on-site were neither installed nor used correctly.

Investigators also found that A.W. Stiles didn’t evaluate respiratory hazards for employees using respirators and failed to ensure workers were medically able to use respirators. OSHA cited the employer with eight serious violations.

“Falls are the leading cause of construction industry deaths and yet this company chose to ignore federal standards and exposed four employees—including the deceased—to this deadly hazard,” Jeffrey Prebish, OSHA’s Syracuse, New York, area office director, said in a statement. “This led OSHA to cite and fine A.W. Stiles for the lack of fall protection on an instance-by-instance basis–one citation for each of the four exposed workers.”

Last year, OSHA issued enforcement guidance, allowing “instance-by-instance” citations for “high-gravity,” serious violations of several agency standards, including its construction industry fall protection standard. The standard has been the agency’s most cited for 13 straight years, it announced last fall.

Georgia contractor cited in fatal fall

Johns Creek, Georgia, contractor NOR-D LLC faces a $61,065 OSHA fine after a 54-year-old laborer on a five-man crew removing tar and stone from metal roof panels of a Macon warehouse stepped on a skylight and fell about 19 ft, the agency announced June 25.

Investigators determined that an employee stepped on the skylight after dumping debris off the warehouse’s roof. An ambulance rushed the worker, who suffered severe injuries, to a nearby hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries hours later.

NOR-D LLC also failed to notify OSHA of the fatal workplace incident within the required 8 hours.

An OSHA inspection found that the company failed to protect its employees by not using fall protection systems and leaving skylights without safety guardrails on the roof the day of the fatal incident. Inspectors discovered NOR-D LLC allowed employees to work without fall protection 2 months later after OSHA was notified of the violations.

The agency cited NOR-D LLC with nine serious violations, finding that the employer:

  • Failed to provide fall protection systems to workers on a roof at heights of 19 ft; 
  • Failed to install covers or guardrails on the roof’s skylights; 
  • Permitted workers to use a forklift, elevating workers on a pallet to the upper roof level;
  • Improperly used extension ladders that failed to reach at least 3 ft higher than the top of the roof;
  • Allowed employees to use a ladder with structural defects;
  • Permitted workers to operate nail guns at 120 pounds per square inch (PSI) without protective eyewear;
  • Didn’t train forklift operators to operate powered industrial trucks; and 
  • Failed to report the death of an employee resulting from a work-related incident within 8 hours.

“After more than 20 years of experience as a roofing and framing contractor, NOR-D LLC should know the work its employees do is dangerous and potentially fatal, especially when safety protocols are ignored,” Joshua Turner, OSHA’s Atlanta-East area office director, said in a statement.

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