August 2, 2016
WATERTOWN, S.D. – Federal investigators found a 24-year-old roofing worker, who fell more than 33 feet to his death lacked an adequate fall protection system and his employer failed to train him to work safely at heights.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the man, who was installing roofing materials, was outside of a warning line placed on the roof when he fell off the roof of the Watertown Community Center.
The agency has cited Pro-Tec Roofing Inc. for putting employees at risk by violating federal fall safety standards after its investigation of the man’s April 21, 2016, death. OSHA issued two willful and eight serious safety violations to the company on July 28, 2016.
“An adequate fall protection system could have prevented this worker’s tragic and avoidable death. An employer who chooses to use a warning line with a monitor, as in this case, must maintain the warning line system, and ensure that work beyond the warning line is appropriately monitored,” said Sheila Stanley, OSHA’s area director in Sioux Falls. “Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry. OSHA is committed to protecting construction workers from unnecessary injuries or worse.”
Inspectors also found Pro-Tec Roofing failed to:
Train workers on fall protection standards and equipment.
Protect and train workers to recognize and understand the chemical hazards from materials associated with the installation of a synthetic rubber roofing membrane.
Provide fire extinguishers.
Have a competent person inspect work sites daily.
Follow electrical safe work practices.
Pro-Tec Roofing faces $77,000 in proposed federal fines for these citations. View current citations here.
Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce the numbers of preventable, fall-related deaths in the construction industry. OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that 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 ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, 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 gear properly.
Pro-Tec Roofing 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 Sioux Falls office at 605-251-2021.
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.