Texas Drywall Contractor Fined $60,000 Following Worker's Fatal Fall

OSHA has cited Sills-Swindell Inc. for two alleged willful and one repeat violation with proposed penalties totaling $60,000 following a fatality at the company's worksite in Richardson, Texas.

OSHA's Dallas Area Office conducted its inspection on Nov. 26, 2008, at the site, finding two willful violations for failing to follow applicable manufacturer's recommendations for loading equipment on a lift truck and to provide fall protection to prevent employees from falling off scaffolds more than 10 feet above a lower level. A willful citation is issued for violations committed with disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. The repeat violation was for failing to provide employees with the required training to operate industrial powered equipment. A repeat violation is defined as a violation that previously was cited where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

"This company failed to protect employees who were working on elevated platforms," said Stephen Boyd, OSHA's area director in Dallas. "In this case, a worker was unloading materials from a box that was being elevated on a lift truck that became unstable, causing the worker to fall 36 feet to his death."

The Cedar Hill, Texas-based company does plastering, drywall, acoustical, and insulation work. It has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Dallas area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Dallas area employers and workers with questions about safety and health can call 214-320-2400 or OSHA's hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or imminent dangers.

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