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Company Charged with Failing to Timely Report Fatality
 

By Roy Maurer  4/18/2014
 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue a citation to a Missoula, Mont., contractor for failing to timely report a roofing accident fatality.

The worker died at a site in Florence, Mont., after falling 9 feet to the ground April 9, 2014.

OSHA told Jared Langley Roofing and Remodel to expect to be cited for not reporting the fatality to OSHA within the mandatory eight-hour timeframe. OSHA Regional Director Jeff Funke told NBC Montana that the company waited until the next day to make the report. “We take that requirement very seriously,” Funke said. “If we are not informed in a timely manner, it impedes our ability to do an investigation.”

Funke said OSHA maintains a 24-hour hotline for reporting. “There is no excuse for not making the report. Unfortunately, on average, I would say we have about two a year where this occurs.”

He added that the worker was not wearing proper fall protection gear. Federal law requires roofers working 6 feet above the ground to have some form of fall protection.

“A fall from height as low as 6 feet in elevation can cause death or permanent disability,” Funke said.  “These deaths are totally preventable if employees utilize fall protection appropriately.”

OSHA is still investigating the case, and has six months to complete a report and issue any proposed citations.

OSHA cited the company in 2004 and 2012 for violations that included lack of fall protection for workers. After negotiations, the company paid $15,000 and $6,000 respectively.

Roofers and framers have the highest incident rate for injuries and fatalities caused by falls in the construction industry. In 2012, falls from elevation accounted for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities nationally.

OSHA has set aside June 2-6, 2014, for the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down event, meant to raise awareness for preventing fall hazards in construction.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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