Fatal Fall at Middle School Construction Site Leads to $167,580 Fine

Temporary employees working under the direction of the contractor were erecting scaffolding when the plank upon which the victim was working snapped, resulting in a 27-foot fatal fall to the concrete floor below.

OSHA has cited The MacMillin Co. Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards following the death of an employee on Sept. 16 at a Keene Middle School construction site. Temporary employees working under the direction of the Keene, N.H.-based contractor were erecting scaffolding when the plank upon which the victim was working snapped, resulting in a 27-foot fatal fall to the concrete floor below. Proposed fines total $167,580.

An inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office found that the scaffold had not been inspected for defects, the employees had not been adequately trained in the erection and inspection of scaffolding, and the employer did not determine the feasibility of or ensure the use of fall protection for employees during the scaffold erection. These conditions resulted in citations for three willful violations.

Additionally, the scaffold planks could not support four times their maximum allowable load as required, all of the scaffold's supporting legs were not set on base plates, scaffold planks were covered with paint and the employees were not adequately supervised during the scaffold erection. These conditions resulted in citations for four serious violations.

"Proper planning, inspection procedures, employee training, and equipment could have prevented this incident and the worker's death that resulted," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "I strongly suggest that employers who use scaffolding make the time and effort to review their equipment, work practices, and employee training and take any necessary corrective steps to prevent future falls that can result in injuries and deaths."

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