OSHA fines company $167k after fatality

21 March 2012

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined a New Hampshire construction company $167,000, attributing the proposed fines to safety violation standards which resulted in a worker falling to his death from scaffolding.

MacMillin Co., Inc. had hired 58-year-old Steven Sawyer of Dublin to help erect scaffolding at nearby Keene Middle School. OSHA said the plank Sawyer was standing on snapped and resulted in a 27-foot fall.

According to an inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office, "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 report stated, "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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