Two workers plunged 25 feet after scaffolding collapsed inside the water tank they were painting – an incident that prompted an OSHA investigation resulting in 15 safety violations and penalties of $69,168 against the contractor.

In the October 2010 event, the two employees of M Brothers Paintings Inc. were painting the inside of a water tank at a Hollywood worksite when a suspended scaffold device anchored on the outer surface of a roof hole fell through the hole, causing one side of the scaffold to collapse and causing the workers to fall, sustaining serious injuries.

"If proper safety precautions had been taken, these injuries could have been prevented," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "It is the employer's responsibility to ensure all aspects of OSHA's standards are followed."

Fourteen serious safety violations were cited with a penalty of $59,928 for failure to inspect the scaffold and its components for defects; ensure the suspension scaffold device could rest on surfaces capable of supporting at least four times the load; protect workers with adequate fall protection; train workers to recognize the hazards associated with the use of shackles as anchor devices on supporting surfaces; and provide a safety and health program that includes hazard prevention and control. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

A repeat citation with a penalty of $9,240 was issued for failing to equip the load end of the wire suspension rope with thimbles. The thimbles can prevent the wire from pitching and abrading while preventing the load from coming into direct contact with the wire. OSHA cited the company in September 2010 for failing to meet the agency's safety standard for scaffolding. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.