Four Contractors Expose Workers to Potentially Fatal Falls: OSHA

The employers face more than $110,000 in fines for allegedly failing to provide protection.

OSHA announced an enforcement action after workers doing renovation at the former Dye Works at 15 Cottage St. in Easthampton, Mass., faced potentially fatal falls of up to 40 feet because their employers allegedly failed to provide proper protection.

"Falls are the number one killer in construction work. When fall protection is absent or deficient, as it was here, employees may be only moments away from a deadly or disabling plunge that could kill them or end their careers," said Mary Hoye, OSHA's area director in Springfield.

Four contractors were cited and fined $110,670 by OSHA. OSHA found several fall hazards: no fall protection for employees working on the roof; unguarded floor holes; insufficient anchorage for fall protection; and employees untrained to recognize fall hazards. "The sizable penalties reflect not only the danger of the fall hazards involved, but also the employer's knowledge of the hazards and its deliberate failure to safeguard its employees," said Hoye.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning contractor Atlantis Comfort Systems Corp., of Smithfield, R.I., was cited for two serious violations, with $7,000 in fines, for failure to ensure the use of fall protection and failure to document fall protection training. Masonry subcontractor Jean Beauthier, doing business as All Custom Masonry, of Rutland, was cited for two serious violations, with $5,600 in fines, for failure to provide fall protection for employees working on a scaffold and for using a scaffold that was not fully planked.

Finally, window contractor J&R Glass Service, of Fitchburg, was cited for one serious violation, with a fine of $4,900, for not protecting an employee from possible falls through a wall opening.

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