US Department of Labor fines firms $300,000 over site fatalities

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has imposed fines worth almost $300,000 on firms in Missouri and Pennsylvania where employees suffered fatal injuries on site.

In Media, Pennsylvania, an employee died after falling 6m from a residential structure while carrying out framing work. The OSHA fined Philadelphia-based subcontractor CLF Construction $170,560 as it did not provide proper fall protection systems, and did not develop an accident prevention programme that could prevented hazardous conditions occurring during construction.

The OSHA also fined Pennsylvania-based general contractor Toll Brothers $74,217 for failing to ensure that a subcontractor provided its employees with fall protection.

Theresa Downs, OSHA Philadelphia’s area director, said: "Appropriate fall protection could have prevented this tragedy. Every worker has the right to a safe workplace, and employers will be held accountable when they fail to meet this obligation."

In Missouri, the OSHA fined portable restroom firm R&R Contracting Services $52,626 for the death of a worker who was crushed by a forklift.

R&R Contracting Services was found to have failed to train employees on how to use forklifts safely, and had failed to remove damaged vehicles from service. Inspectors added that the firm had broken electrical and fire safety rules by improperly stored oxygen and gas cylinders, and had a lack of guardrails.

Bill McDonald, OSHA St Louis’ office director, said: "Powered industrial trucks must be maintained and operated safely to prevent worker injury.

"Employers must develop comprehensive safety and health programmes to address known issues in their facilities, and train workers on proper safety and health precautions."

All fined firms have 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply or contest the findings.

Image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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