Fall epidemic in El Paso (1/27)
January 27, 2011
An employee of Spray Polyurethane Foam fell almost 30 feet to his death at the company’s El Paso worksite, through a roof that wasn’t strong enough to hold him, according to an OSHA investigation.
Agency inspectors found that the roof lacked the required strength and structural integrity for repair work. OSHA has cited the company with five alleged serious and one other-than-serious violation for failing to provide fall protection. The serious violations include failing to determine if the roof had sufficient structural integrity for making roof repairs, provide employees with fall protection systems and/or personal fall arrest systems, and provide training for employees exposed to possible fall hazards. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
An other-than-serious violation was issued for failing to contact OSHA within eight hours to report the fatality. An other-than-serious violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. Proposed penalties for the serious and other-than-serious violations total $8,700.
The Aug. 25, 2010 incident was one of three falls that occurred at El Paso company worksites in 2010. In October, an employee of Empire Roofing fell through a skylight while making roof repairs. In May, a worker employed by Parsons Roofing fell through a roof while repairing roof decking that was rotted and had not been inspected for strength and structural integrity. In both incidents, employees sustained severe injuries.
"Falls are one of the most common and well-known hazards at a worksite, and can injure or kill a worker in a matter of seconds," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "All three incidents could have been avoided had the employees been provided with fall protection and training."