A 42-year-old laborer leak testing joints inside a 54-inch round pipe suffered fatal blunt force injuries in October 2015, when an inflatable “bladder” ruptured at a Springfield waste-water treatment plant. OSHA inspectors found that his employer, Henderson Construction of Central Illinois Inc., failed to train him properly on the testing procedure.
On the same day the New York City Housing Authority announced that it would take steps to make elevators in NYCHA buildings safer, a mechanic was electrocuted while working at the agency’s Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn.
HVAC installer Timothy O’Neal Gearing and a co-worker were trying to unjam a saw stuck in a metal roof when the saw jerked loose, causing Gearing to lose his balance and fall through an unguarded skylight. The 39-year-old plunged to the concrete ground 15 feet below died from his injuries after being transported to a hospital.
Twenty-one-year-old Jacob Casher was still a "new guy" employed by a Beaver-based plumbing company when he left home for work in September 2015. He probably never imagined that, as he worked to install a sewer line 11-feet underground in Butler, it was to be the last day of his life.
When followed, safety standards save lives and painful injuries. In the construction industry, ignoring them can lead to disaster, as it did for 54-year-old Gary Berthelot as he helped rebuild a Mississippi restaurant damaged by Hurricane Isaac.