Enforcement and Inspection, Fall Protection, Personnel Safety

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.

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