DENTON, TX – In March 2021, The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected a Forth Worth masonry company. OSHA cited the Texas Masonry Company for fall hazards, as well as silica hazards. OSHA previously cited the company, RRM Masonry and Stucco Inc., for violations in 2018 and 2019.
This inspection took place as part of OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program for construction falls. Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.
The Texas Masonry company cited for fall hazards was issued citations for nine repeat and six serious violations. This included the company failing to ensure that scaffolding was properly planked and secured, and provide a ladder for safe egress and inspect scaffolding. The proposed penalties total $216,265.
Area Director Timothy Minor stated in an OSHA press release, “RM Masonry and Stucco has shown repeated disregard for worker safety. Employers should never put profits before the safety of their workers. OSHA will do everything in its power to protect workers and hold serial violators like this accountable.”
According to OSHA’s press release, RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. is a privately-owned construction company with approximately 40 employees.
RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of 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.
PUEBLO, CO – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performed two follow-up inspections in February 2021 at Key Structures LLC. This led to 13 willful repeat and serious violations. The citations at the Colorado construction company resulted in $222,055 combined penalties.
OSHA identified one willful violation for using damaged scaffolding and one repeat violation for failing to train workers on scaffolding safety. It also identified seven serious violations. The serious violations included: Failure to use fall protection,unsafe use of ladders and scaffolding, and unsafe storage of compressed gas cylinders.
OSHA issued a press release regarding the citations at the Colorado construction company. OSHA Area Director Chad Vivian in Greenwood Village, Colorado stated “Key Structures’ willful and continued negligence shows an intentional disregard for worker safety. Falls are a leading cause of worker deaths which is why employers must train workers on scaffolding safety and comply with fall prevention standards. Our job [is] to hold them accountable when they don’t.”
Key Structure’s Website states it was formed in 2018 as a subsidiary of the Challenger Group. It focuses on building off-site components for the construction of homes, apartments and townhomes.
Key Structures has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.
East Norriton, NJ– According to an OSHA investigation, Wilmer Mejía Landaverde, a New Jersey worker building an Amazon warehouse in East Norriton, fell from the structure’s roof. Mejia’s fall was fatal due to his injuries from falling 25 feet.
A Trenton-based construction contractor employed Mejía. Mejía’s brother, Josué, said he and his brother were replacing roofing material before Mejía’s fall; he recalled that his brother removed his safety ties briefly for a water break. Both workers have cables attached while they work. After returning from break, he did not put his cable back on.
According to East Norriton police, the fall occurred at 3:48 p.m. at a construction site on 53 West Germantown Pike. Amazon was not involved in the construction nor are they under investigation.
In a statement, an official from IMC Construction stated: “Despite extensive safety training, inspections, procedures, instructions, safety personnel on-site and mandated safety requirements, the worker was witnessed by his co-workers removing his mandated safety line from his safety harness while on the roof, and within minutes fell.”
Amazon spokesperson Branden Baribeau noted that the East Norriton site is under construction, with no Amazon employees. “We’re saddened by this tragic incident and extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” he said. “It is our understanding that OSHA is investigating, and we will work with them as needed.”
OSHA stated it has up to six months to complete the investigation. In addition to the Construction Contractors, the agency said it is also investigating the roofing contractor.
“Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths,” OSHA experts caution on the agency’s website. “Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.”
ADRIAN, MO– A local Missouri grain facility has been cited for an injury and explosion from failing to correct critical safety procedures, including potential dust ignition sources at their Adrian grain loading facility.
Due to its negligence, the company suffered a grave explosion that seriously injured an employee and destroyed the main elevator at an Adrian grain loading facility. OSHA cited West Central Agri Services for one willful and six serious safety violations totaling $215,525 in OSHA fines.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the explosion could have been avoided if the company set up bucket elevators with monitoring devices that notify workers when a belt is slipping and potentially causing friction – this can ignite grain dust.
Within grain handling facilities, OSHA standards require a storage capacity of over one million bushels, and the company had not updated its dust collection system since its installation in 1974. MFA Enterprises failed to meet safety standards.
The company also did not repair an overhead trolly system used for connecting fall protection devices. The trolly system was out of service at the time of its investigation and noted violations, including a lack of preventive maintenance and a failure to designate hazardous areas existed. The company workers were exposed to fall hazards when walking atop the railcars to open and close the hatches without fall protection which is inconsistent with fall protection training and safety measures.
MFA Enterprises Inc. is one of the region’s oldest agricultural cooperatives and brings together 45,000 farmers in Missouri and adjacent states. Together with working with OSHA’s Grain-Handling Safety Standard focuses on the grain and feed industry’s six significant hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions, and electrocution hazard.
“West Central Agri Services failed to follow industry standards and create company policies for safe grain handling, and needlessly put their workers in danger,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “Grain handling hazards can be avoided by using well-known safety measures that are proven to help prevent workers from being injured or killed.”
TOCCOA, GA – A recycling plant has been cited in a fatal fall that occurred on December 2020 in Toccoa, GA. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited Scrap Master Inc. after determining they failed to equip stairs and platforms with guardrails to prevent falls, exposing workers to fall hazards.
The inspection also resulted in citations for failures to mount and mark fire extinguishers, repair powered industrial trucks, provide a training program on powered industrial trucks, develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, and prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.
In total, OSHA cited Scrap Masters with eight serious and five repeat violations, which resulted in a proposed $164,308 in penalties.
OSHA Acting Area Director Michael Hejazi was quoted as saying, “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”
The recycling plant cited in the fatal fall, Scrap master Inc. recycles plastic automobile gas tanks, according to OSHA’s press release. The company 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.
MARLTON, NJ – Six contractors were cited for fall safety hazards on a luxury home construction site. OSHA listed the six companies in their press release put out on Monday. Combined, there were 4 willful and 35 serious violations. Most the violations were for failing to provide fall protection or fall protection training. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. They are also repeatedly the number one most frequently cited violation of the year for OSHA.
The penalties total $244,397. One of the six contractors cited for fall safety, Lifetime Contractor Corp., is responsible for over half of those penalties. OSHA began the inspections as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. On October 20th, 2020, a compliance officer observed workers exposed to falls and other hazards. The same was observed during a second inspection the 22nd. This prompted a third inspection on the 31st.
OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick was quoted as saying, “A fall can permanently alter or end a worker’s life in a matter of seconds. Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry have a legal obligation to comply with the law and ensure their workers end their shifts safely. When employers fail to follow requirements, OSHA will hold them responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Martin Technical, in partnership with PIXO VR, offers Fall Protection Training to help companies avoid fines such as these.
BUNNELL, FL – A Florida contractor was cited for fall hazard violations, totaling over $61k. Fall safety is often the number one cited Safety Violation of the year. OSHA released this announcement on April 7th, 2021.
OSHA stated this citation was part of its Regional Emphasis Program for Fall in Construction. The contractor cited for fall hazard violations, P & S Service Group Inc. has repeat violations for failing to ensure employees use fall protection while working from heights greater than 6 feet. The company was cited for a similar violation in October, 2017. The 2021 violation totals $61,575. P & S, a framing and and sheathing contractor, has 15 days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings before OSHA.
According OSHA’s press release, and BizJournals.com OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida stated “This employer has repeatedly disregarded the safety of their employees despite previous OSHA violations. Employers must ensure that workers are protected from these well-known hazards.”
Winnipeg, Canada – Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health is investigating at Gerdau Long Steel North America after a worker was injured in an accident at the mill in Selkirk on the weekend.
A spokesperson for the steel mill confirmed to press that a worker at the Gerdau Manitoba Steel Mill was injured and is expected to be released in “the next day or two.”
According to the province, the unnamed worker fell approximately eight feet from a stepladder and sustained a “serious leg injury,” and then was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
The incident is now under investigation. The company was issued two improvement orders related to ladders directly relating to this incident.
Improvement orders are issued when a priority contravention is noted; they require measures to be put in place by a specified timeframe in order to ensure the safety and health of workers. Approximately 7,000 improvement orders are issued annually in the province of Manitoba.
Every company has different needs and training requirements, which is why Martin Technical offers blended learning solutions internationally to countries like Canada.
Workplace Safety and Health have been notified of three other serious incidents ranging in injuries at the workplace this year, the spokesperson told the press. Some of these incidents also warranted improvement orders.
Commerce, GA- A construction worker at the SK Battery plant in Jackson County, Georgia was declared dead after he sustained injuries from a three story fall.
The accident itself took place November 4, 2020 at the plant’s Formation Building. Reportedly the worker fell through a hole in an air vent 46 feet above the ground, later landing on top of a female worker standing below who also sustained injuries.
Jackson County deputy coroner, Jeff Rogers, said the 34-year-old Augusta man suffered brain injuries and was kept on life support until this weekend. The female worker remains in critical condition but is ultimately expected to survive.
Some workers have told reporters at FOX 5 they worry sub-contractors are sacrificing safety for speed. “You take chances in our trade and you wind up dead,” warned Randy Gregory when FOX 5 Atlanta talked to him in September.
This month’s accident follows other recent injuries at the site. Recently, one worker was hospitalized after he fell through a ceiling, while another allegedly fell through a roof. Fall Protection Training actively addresses the factors that lead to such incidents like these three occurring.
Deputy coroner Rogers said the investigation by OSHA will determine whether the man who died followed safety procedures and at what fault the subcontractors and company will be held at.
“They’re going back out to the site,” explained the deputy coroner. “They’re interviewing witnesses, employees that were there that saw the accident.”
Orlando, FL- A worker fell to his death at the Orlando StarFlyer while working on the attraction. The worker, identified as 21-year-old Jacob David Kaminsky, was said to have been climbing the tower while conducting a routine safety check before he fell.
The ride stands 450 feet tall and was permitted in 2018, advertised as the world’s tallest swing ride.
“They were doing their daily safety inspection which is conducted every day. That’s when the accident occurred,” said Jacob Stine, the marketing manager for the attraction. “We have an ongoing investigation right now to determine exactly what happened.”
OSHA will also be beginning their investigation into this situation. Stine noted that there are “quite a few redundancies” in their safety procedures and that they’re very thorough.
According to The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fair Rides Inspections, there hadn’t been any recorded incidents or violations with the Starflyer since it was permitted before this death.
Martin Technical provides safety training taught by trade experienced subject matter experts, as well as safety management software solutions accounting for topics such as maintenance and inspections.