Gravity is a serious yet often overlooked safety hazard. Failure to protect workers from falls was the most common OSHA violation in 2015 with 6,721 violations. The risk of worker falls has grown rapidly with the growth of the communications industry and the use of communications towers. By enrolling your workers in an OSHA 10 hour workplace safety course, you can create a safer environment and help prevent needless accidents.
Fatal Fall: Tragedy at V & T Painting LLC
In October 2014, two contractors traveled nearly 300 miles from Michigan to Oxford, Ohio for what they thought would be a standard commercial painting project. The trip would cost them their lives.
The duo began working at a height of seven stories atop a two-point scaffold, all without any safeguards to stop or cushion a potential fall. When the suspension rope snapped, the scaffold collapsed, and nothing could save the men from falling to their deaths.
A Case of Employer Oversight
OSHA investigators cited V & T Painting LLC for 30 total serious safety violations, 17 at the Oxford location and 13 at another site in Hamilton. In both scenarios, the company sent contractors to paint water towers without providing them with sufficient protective equipment, nor did they enroll their workers in a basic 10 hour OSHA safety course so they would recognize and avoid hazards such as the one that lead to this unnecessary fatal incident. Had they done so, the families of Nilaj and Vukaj may have been spared the shock and pain of a preventable tragedy.
OSHA’s Cincinnati area director, Ken Montgomery, stated that employers must verify that protective equipment is in place and functional before sending workers to dangerous heights. He also noted a rise in preventable falls among workers operating on communications towers and other tall structures. Both employers and workers should be well-versed in what types of PPE to use and other safeguards that must be established before the start of the project.
The Importance of OSHA Safety Training
V & T Painting also failed to follow proper inspection protocol when setting up the scaffolds. OSHA inspectors found frayed ropes, cords and slings, loose and improperly installed U-bolts, and many other damaged pieces of equipment being used. The company anchored multiple lifelines and suspension points on a single point, placing worker lives at great risk. The lines were also exposed to sharp and jagged edges. Perhaps most concerning of all was that V &T Painting failed to inspect their equipment, follow any type of safety evaluation procedure, or enroll workers in a simple OSHA 10 hour fall prevention and PPE course so they could at least have recognized a dangerous situation and possibly avoided it.
OSHA safety standards exist to save lives. All workers, salaried and contracted, deserve to be treated with respect and provided with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) by their employer before beginning a hazardous job. Companies like this one that fail to comply and put workers’ lives at risk face harsh penalties and fines, and suffer irreparable damage to their reputation and the guilt of taking workers away from their families. Both new and established companies should always make sure all managers and employees stay up to date with the latest OSHA guidelines.
OSHA Pros offers easy to follow, online safety training for construction and other workers. Enroll your employees today and get your organization on the right track to high safety standards to help reduce the likelihood of on-the-job falls and other avoidable safety failures.