Lack of Safety Training Leads Fatality and Contractor Fine

Lack of safety training and failure to provide fall-arrest systems can be fatal.Lack of Safety Training and fall protection safety gear were cited by Federal regulators as the prime cause in a fall-related death involving a Nebraska contractor. The contractor has proposed a $36,000 fine against the firm.

OSHA investigators concluded that the death of a 39-year-old worker in October, 2014, could have been prevented. Custom Contracting out of Lincoln, Nebraska should have provided required fall protection equipment when the employee was installing metal roofing sheets on a commercial building in Raymond, Nebraska. The fatality resulted when the worker fell 20 feet to his death to the concrete surface below. After investigation, Federal regulators cited and proposed $36,000 in penalties against the company.

Central to the investigation was a key finding of lack of safety training to recognize fall hazards, render first aid and operate powered industrial vehicles. The company was grossly in err when is did not provide the roof works with the required fall protection equipment. No safety nets or personal fall-arrest systems were provided.

Lack of Safety Training Can Lead to Deaths

Jeff Funke, OSHA Area Director in Omaha, Nebraska issued a statement regarding the incident, “Fatal incidents like these are entirely preventable. They have tragic consequences for the victims, their families and the communities.”

Falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers. In 2013, there were 291 fatal falls to a lower level out of 828 total fatalities in construction. Falls accounted for nearly 40% of fatalities in 2014. OSHA instituted its Plan-Provide-Train campaign along with help from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to raise awareness of falls in industrial and construction settings. Its key points emphasize PLANNING ahead for all aspects of safety, PROVIDING the proper and required gear for all workers, and TRAINING them in the use of the equipment and essential fall-protection basics.

OSHA emphasizes that all three points must be present. Preparation and proper gear mean nothing if workers have a lack of safety training on how to use the proper equipment.