OSHA Cites Contractors Following Fatal Accident

OSHA cited a Georgia general contractor and three subcontractors\r\nfollowing a fatal fall at an Actworth, Ga., construction site.

OSHA cited a Georgia general contractor and three subcontractors following a fatal fall at an Actworth, Ga., construction site.

The four were charged with seven serious and four repeat safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $48,600.

"OSHA considered all four companies at the job site as ''controlling contractors,''" said Susan Johnston, OSHA''s Atlanta-West area director, "because they were on-site before, during and after the accident. All were award that employees were not properly protected but none took corrective action."

According to Johnston, the accident occurred Nov. 10 when an employee of Victor Javier Campos, one of the subcontractors on the site, fell 28 feet from the roof of a three-story apartment building under construction. The employee died four days later.

Following an inspection, OSHA cited four contractors for failing to protect employees working 6 feet or more above the ground and for failing to conduct frequent inspections of the worksite.

The violations were classified as serious for general contractor J. Andrews Construction Co. and subcontractor Victor Javier Campos, but as repeat with regard to the two other subcontractors -- Antionio Ruiz and Charles M. Paine Inc. -- because both had been inspected and fined by OSHA in February 1998 for the same violations.

Additional serious citations were issued against Ruiz and Campos for failing to train employees about fall hazards and protection against them.

"Falls are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry," said Johnston. "Many serious injuries and deaths could be prevented if employers would develop effective fall protection programs, including hazard assessments, use of proper equipment to control the hazard of falls, establishing trustworthy anchor points for guardrails and lifelines, and implementing sound work rules."

Johnston added, "Educating employees in how to protect themselves is an extremely important part of a responsible fall protection program, and the training should be frequently reinforced."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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