Three Workers Fall 16 Feet from Balcony, Remodeling Contractors Fined $143,880

OSHA's Austin Area Office initiated an investigation on June 24 following a report that a third-floor balcony had collapsed at a construction site. Three employees fell 16 feet to the ground and received medical treatment for their injuries.

OSHA has cited Martin's Concrete Construction, Stir Construction Inc., and JM Construction for serious and repeat safety violations following an incident at an Austin, Texas, construction site that resulted in injuries to three workers. Proposed penalties for the companies total $143,880.

OSHA's Austin Area Office initiated an investigation on June 24 following a report that a third-floor balcony had collapsed at a construction site. Three employees of Martin's Concrete Construction fell 16 feet to the ground and received medical treatment for their injuries.

OSHA has cited Austin-based Martin's Concrete Construction for eight serious safety violations, including failing to develop a safety and health program, provide employees with safety and health training, ensure that shoring was designed by a qualified designer, and provide fall protection such as guardrails when working on projects at levels higher than 6 feet. Proposed penalties total $28,800.

General contractor Stir Construction, based in Rockwall, has been cited for 12 serious safety violations involving failing to provide training on the use of forklifts, provide fall protection for employees when working on scaffolding, ensure that scaffolding was erected properly, and adequately inspect shoring. Proposed penalties total $43,800.

Framing contractor JM Construction, headquartered in Grand Prairie, has been cited for 12 serious violations for failing to provide fall protection to employees while working at heights of 16 feet or higher at a residential work site, ensure that the concrete shoring was adequate to support the balcony's load, and ensure the scaffolding was safely erected. Additionally, one repeat violation has been cited for failing to provide fall protection. Proposed penalties total $71,280. JM Construction was cited for similar violations in August 2007.

"Failure to effectively implement OSHA's safety and health standards to protect workers from potential workplace hazards can lead to serious or fatal injuries," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "If the company had installed the proper shoring, it is possible these injuries could have been avoided."

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