Texas Company Cited after Worker's Fatal 30-Foot Fall

The investigation found that the roof of the facility did not have the required strength and structural integrity for repair work to be performed.

OSHA has cited Spray Polyurethane Foam with five alleged serious and one other-than-serious violation for failing to provide fall protection resulting from an investigation into a fatality at the company's worksite in El Paso, Texas.

OSHA's El Paso Area Office initiated the investigation on Aug. 25, 2010, following a report that an employee fell almost 30 feet through the roof and died at the company's worksite. The investigation found that the roof of the facility did not have the required strength and structural integrity for repair work to be performed.

The serious violations include failing to determine if the roof had sufficient structural integrity for making roof repairs, provide employees with fall protection systems and/or personal fall arrest systems, and provide training for employees exposed to possible fall hazards. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

An other-than-serious violation was issued for failing to contact OSHA within eight hours to report the fatality. An other-than-serious violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Proposed penalties for the serious and other-than-serious violations total $8,700.

In October 2010, an employee of another company in El Paso, Empire Roofing, fell through a skylight while making roof repairs. In May 2010, a worker employed by Parsons Roofing in El Paso fell through a roof while repairing roof decking that was rotted and had not been inspected for strength and structural integrity. In both incidents, employees sustained severe injuries while performing roofing repair work.

"Falls are one of the most common and well-known hazards at a worksite, and can injure or kill a worker in a matter of seconds," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "OSHA is dedicated to providing a safe and healthful workplace. All three incidents could have been avoided had the employees been provided with fall protection and training."

Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html.

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