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8 Companies Cited after Fatality

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Eight Texas contractors face $53,480 in combined fines after a worker died from a 29-foot fall on a construction site in Canyon Lake, TX.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Underwood Group Inc. and seven subcontractors for failing to provide workers with required fall protection after the worker perished Jan. 14.

The citations relate primarily to guard-rail deficiencies. It was not clear if the worker was wearing personal protective equipment.

"The cost of providing fall prevention equipment is nominal compared with the senseless loss of life," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin.

"Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities recorded in 2012.

James Willamor / Flickr

OSHA cited eight companies in the death of a Texas worker. The work site is not pictured.

"One fall can seriously injure a worker, or in this case, cost a worker his life. Such negligence will not be tolerated."

The worker, who was not identified in legal documents, died after falling 29 feet at a condominium construction site in Canyon Lake.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, fatal work injuries in Texas accounted for 75 of the 536 fatal work injuries reported in the state in 2012.

The Citations

According to the OSHA citations, the Underwood Group of Cornelia, GA, was cited for one willful and one serious violation, with a penalty of $15,600. San Antonio-based MZ Flooring Partners, a painting contractor that employed the now-deceased unidentified worker, was cited for two serious violations and issued a penalty of $8,600.

The six remaining contractors are:

Willful Violations

The Cornelia, GA-based Underwood Group was the only company cited with a willful violation, OSHA's highest level of infraction. Of its $15,600 penalty, $14,000 is for willful violations.

Koralie Hill / OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of construction deaths, according to OSHA.

OSHA considers a willful violation as one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

In this case, the willful violations involve guardrails that were missing rails and could not withstand 200 pounds of force.

The Underwood Group could not be reached for comment July 22.

Focus on Falls

To reduce the U.S. toll from falls, OSHA held the 2014 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction in June.

The event was part of OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which aims to provide lifesaving information and educational materials to employers on preventing falls and other hazards.

About one million workers and 25,000 businesses and industry leaders participated in the stand-down. 

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Construction; OSHA; Violations

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