The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited an agricultural facility for multiple violations after an employee suffered a fatal fall while on-the-job.
Fatal fall leads to an investigation
The agency investigated after receiving a report of a fatal fall. During the investigation, the agency states the business allowed employees to work at heights over 25 feet without proper fall protection gear.
During the agency’s news release about the incident, OSHA officials took a moment to discuss the dangers of falls. Falls remain one of the agency’s most frequently reported hazards. Proper safety protocol can help to reduce the risk of a fall and mitigate injuries and serious accidents like the one reported above. These steps include:
- Eliminate. First, if possible, eliminate the fall hazard. If, for example, there is an opening in the floor, cover it.
- Guardrails. If the employer cannot eliminate the hazard, they should add guardrails. When dealing with a ledge, guardrails can keep workers from falling from the edge of the ledge.
- Restraints. If neither of the above are an option, have workers who must work in the area use restraints such as anchors and body harnesses.
In this case, the agency found the facility guilty of 11 serious safety violations and two willful violations. This led to $415,204 in financial penalties. It has 15 business days to comply with agency’s recommendations and meet with the local OSHA director or choose to contest the agency’s findings.
Lessons for workers injured in falls
Those who are injured after a fall at a workplace have options. Employers are supposed to take action to keep their workers safe. If you fell, it is likely your worker did not meet these obligations. In these situations, compensation may be available to help cover the expenses that result from your injury.