Worker Falls to Death from Scaffold

Our Atlanta workplace accident lawyers have been following the story of Smiley Plaster Co, which has been cited by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for unsafe working conditions. Smiley Plaster Co. is a stucco and masonry construction company in Twin City.

On September 20, 2013, a 42-year-old worker for Smiley fell off a scaffolding at a college dorm at East Georgia State College and died. He was applying stucco at the time. Due to this worker’s death, OSHA investigated Smiley and cited Jack Smiley, the head of Smiley Plaster, for five safety violations, which includes wilfully violating the law. Robert Vazzi, the head of OSHA in Savannah, said, “A worker died after the employer knowingly failed to provide a properly built scaffold system to protect employees from fall hazards. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Employers must ensure their workers are protected.” There were 269 fall related fatalities in construction accidents in 2012, out of a total 775 construction related fatalities that year. Due to these dangers, OSHA has a fall prevention campaign developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program.
A wilful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements or plain indifference to worker safety. Smiley’s wilful violation was for a failure to provide fall protection for workers on scaffolds higher than ten feet. This violation has put Smiley on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which inspects employers who have shown indifference to the legal safety obligations for their workers.
Smiley’s other violations included failing to provide adequate scaffolding foundation; failing to brace the scaffolding; and failing to provide protection from debris for the employees working on the scaffolding. These were classified as serious violations, which are ones in which there was a substantial probability of death or serious injury resulting from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Smiley was also cited for failing to report the fatality of its worker within eight hours. This was classified as an other-than-serious violation, which is one that has a direct relationship to job safety but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
For these violations, OSHA has proposed $57,000 in penalties for Smiley Plaster Co. Smiley Plaster Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

Atlanta Workers Compensation Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a workplace accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. To discuss the specifics of your case and any steps to move forward in legal avenues to get any needed compensation to help your family through the difficult time, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

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