An employee of a Massachusetts gutter cleaning company was working on a rooftop Nov. 29, 2015 when he fell, first striking a lower roof 11 feet below his original location, then falling another 15 to the ground.
The worker’s injuries could have been avoided, according to OSHA inspectors, who found that Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning and General Contracting failed to provide its employees with fall protection equipment and failed to guard two skylights.
Fall hazards aren't new to the company; it had been previously cited for a lack of protective equipment at a New Jersey jobsite in 2014.
The "most easily preventable" of hazards
OSHA’s Anthony Covello says fall hazards are encountered by the agency “almost daily.”
“What’s frustrating is that falls are among the most easily preventable of hazards, but only if employers provide and ensure the use of fall protection every day at every workplace,” said Covello.
OSHA cited Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning one repeated and one serious violation of workplace safety standards. Proposed fines total $45,500.
Headquartered in Fairfield, New Jersey, Ned Stevens provides gutter cleaning, repair and installation and other services in 11 states, most on the Eastern seaboard as well as in Illinois and Texas.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction work. Two workers in Middlesex County died in work-related falls between October 2014 and October 2015. OSHA has an ongoing fall prevention campaign to educate and encourage employers to prevent falls by planning ahead to do the job safely, provide workers with the proper protective equipment and train workers to use the equipment safely.
National Safety Stand-Down going on this week
OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Center for Construction Research and Training are leading the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction this week. The Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event during which employers will pause during their workday to talk directly to employees about safety, hold safety demonstrations and train employees on how to recognize hazards and prevent falls.