Roofer's Fatal Fall Brings Proposed Penalties

The fatal fall of a Howell, N.J., roofer who was installing steel decking more than 30 feet above ground without nets or other fall protection, has resulted in citations.

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The fatal fall of a Howell, N.J., roofer who was installing steel decking more than 30 feet above ground without nets or other fall protection, has resulted in citations and proposed penalties totaling $65,000.

Two other workers were previously injured on the project in Monmouth Junction, N.J.

OSHA cited State Sheet Metal of Bedminster, N.J., for failing to provide nets or other fall protection, an alleged repeat violation carrying a proposed penalty of $50,000.

On Feb. 28, Thor Larsen, 32, of Howell, N.J., fell to his death while installing decking on a warehouse building under construction, according to Robert Kulick, OSHA area director.

"This tragic accident could have been avoided," said Kulick. "The employer was on notice, not once but twice, for failure to provide adequate protection for employees. Failure to take necessary and common-sense steps has cost a life, and that is inexcusable."

A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

State Sheet Metal was previously cited for this type of violation in South Brunswick, N.J., in January, 1990, and again in Edison, N.J., in March, 1999.

Two other contractors also received citations for serious and repeat violations as a result of the same investigation for endangering workers with unsafe scaffolding and improperly managed debris.

D&D Associates, Jackson, N.J., and Universal Genral Sheet Metal, Edison, N.J., received proposed penalties totaling $15,000.

Accidents and injuries at the same site brought OSHA penalties to two other contractors late last year.

On Nov. 24, an employee fell 36 feet from a steel beam, and on Dec. 15 another employee received a leg injury when struck by a falling steel beam.

Their employer, United Steel Erectors, Kenvil, N.J., was cited for one alleged willful violation and two alleged serious violations, with a total proposed penalty of $39,000.

The other company, Caruso Excavating Co., Farmingdale, N.J., was cited for alleged repeat and serious violations with proposed penalties totaling $15,400 for trenching hazards.

by Virginia Foran

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