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Two Worker Lives Could Have Been Saved by Fall Protection Image: Thinkstock

Two Worker Lives Could Have Been Saved by Fall Protection

OSHA said the October death of two commercial painters could have been prevented.

A scaffolding collapse in southern Ohio left two workers dead and two families in mourning.

The two deaths, OSHA said, were preventable.

Florjan Nilaj, 25, and Gazmend Vukaj, 40, had traveled 260 miles to Oxford, Ohio from their home in Michigan to paint a 123-foot-tall water tower for V & T Painting LLC.

They were working on an electric two-point scaffold on Oct. 24, 2014, when the scaffold’s hoist failed and the nylon suspension rope broke, causing the scaffold to collapse.

In its investigation, OSHA determined that the two deaths could have been prevented had V & T Painting provided the workers with personal safety gear.

"Two families are devastated by this preventable tragedy. No one should have to suffer such a painful loss. Making sure protective equipment is in use and working properly is a common-sense way to save lives and prevent injuries," said Ken Montgomery, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati.

"Companies that put their workers dangerously high above the ground must provide protection to stop their falls. We are seeing a disturbing trend in deaths and injuries among workers on communications and other types of towers that could have been prevented."

OSHA identified 17 serious safety violations at the Oxford site and another 13 serious violations at a site in Hamilton, Ohio, where the company was painting water towers for the Southwest Ohio Regional Water District.

OSHA assessed $199,000 in penalties for the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based company.

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