Fall protection could have prevented 39-year-old worker’s death

Fall protection could have prevented 39-year-old worker’s death

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that the death of a newly hired, 39-year-old worker who fell through a roof in October 2015 and later died, could have been prevented if his employer provided required fall protection.

The man, just two weeks on the job, was installing metal roofing sheets on a commercial building in Raymond for Custom Contracting Inc., his Lincoln-based employer, when he fell more than 20 feet to the concrete below and suffered fatal injuries.

Federal inspectors found that the company failed to provide fall protection that could have saved the man’s life. Following an investigation by OSHA into the Oct. 24, 2015 incident, Custom Contracting was cited for six serious safety violations on Jan. 14.
Falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers. In 2014, falls accounted for nearly 40 percent of all construction fatalities.

“Fatal incidents like these are entirely preventable. They have tragic consequences for the victims, their families, and their communities,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “Construction industry employers must protect workers from falls which continue to be the leading cause of worker’s death in the construction industry.”

Investigators determined that two workers were installing metal roof sheets on a structural steel building when one of the workers stepped into an opening created by the removal of the adjacent metal roofing sheet and fell. According to OSHA, the company did not provide the roof workers with required fall protection, such as safety nets or a personal fall-arrest system.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $36,000