How inspecting an aerial lift could have saved a life
“Had their employer inspected an aerial lift properly, it might not have malfunctioned and surged forward,” according to the agency, which said the incident happened as workers were removing rain gutters from a building.
Survived - then fell three stories
Employed by Tecta America Southeast LLC, Robert Heyman and another man were on the lift working when it suddenly lurched forward and pinned Heyman between its control panel and the edge of the roof. The 35-year-old foreman and father of three was pronounced dead at the scene. His co-worker was able to crawl out of the lift's basket and then fell nearly three stories, suffering multiple fractures in his left leg.
The workers were rehabilitating a Ford dealership on Volusia Avenue in Orange City.
Citations and penalties
OSHA opened its investigation upon learning of the fatal incident. On March 23, 2016, the agency issued citations to Tecta America Southeast for one repeated and four serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $63,900.
"Tecta America Southeast could have prevented this tragedy by simply inspecting the lift before allowing its workers to use it," said Brian Sturtecky, director of OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office. "This company must immediately address safety hazards at its work sites and be vigilant in the future to protect its employees from harm."
The serious citations relate to the employer's failure to:
- Provide a workplace free from recognized hazards.
- Protect workers from the hazards of unguarded machinery.
- Inspect aerial lift controls each day prior to use.
- Protect workers from electrical hazards due to improperly grounded wiring.
Based in Rosemont, Illinois, Tecta America is a nationwide commercial roofing company with more than 50 operations employing more than 2,500 workers.