Fatal 35-Foot Fall Leads to Contractor's $51,700 Fine

American Building employees were installing metal roofing onto a prefabricated steel building when one of the workers fell 35 feet to the ground and sustained fatal injuries.

OSHA has cited American Building LLC, a Trumbull, Conn.-based steel erection contractor, for alleged violations—one willful and one serious—of workplace safety standards following the Oct. 25, 2011, death of a worker at a site in Stamford, Conn. American Building employees were installing metal roofing onto a prefabricated steel building when one of the workers fell 35 feet to the ground and sustained fatal injuries. Proposed penalties total $51,700.

An investigation by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office found that employees lacked proper fall protection and were not adequately trained to recognize and avoid fall hazards. The safety harnesses of three of the four employees working on the roof, including the victim, were not tied off to anchorage points to prevent falls, and the fourth employee's safety lanyard was too long to protect him against a fall.

"Inadequate and ineffective fall protection can be as dangerous and deadly as no fall protection at all," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "This employer was well aware that these workers were exposed to falls but did not take steps to eliminate a significant hazard. A combination of proper fall protection and effective training could have prevented this needless loss of life."

As a result of its inspection, OSHA has cited American Building with one willful violation for the lack of fall protection and one serious violation for the lack of training.

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