A March 2014 press release from the U.S. Department of Labor has outlined the findings of an investigation into a fatal fall from scaffolding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched the investigation following the accident that occurred on September 20, 2013 at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Ga.
A worker 42 years of age was working on scaffolding outside of a residence hall that put him about 19-feet off the ground. He subsequently fell from the scaffolding and did not survive. Now, OSHA has found that the employer, Jack Smiley, d/b/a Smiley Plaster Company, was at fault in the incident. The federal agency has levied fines totaling $57,000 as it has cited the painting concern for five safety violations. The business has 15 business days from its receipt of the citations to either contest them or comply with them. It also has the option of requesting a formal conference with OSHA’s area director in Savannah.
One violation cited a failure to provide the worker with a type of safety vest that could have prevented the accident. OSHA has identified one of the violations as a “willful” one. A willful violation is defined as one in which an employer disregards safety standards either intentionally, knowingly or voluntarily. Alternatively, this type violation can be cited when an employer shows indifference to a worker’s safety and health. In this instance, the willful violation involved the failure to offer fall protection to a worker more than 10-feet off the ground on scaffolding. The willful violation has also resulted in Smiley Painting being placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
A fatal fall from ladder or scaffold can potentially result in the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit that may allege that negligence contributed to the loss of life. To ask an attorney questions about a workplace injury involving you or a member of your family, please contact us.