According to a local official for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, falls are among the leading causes of workplace fatalities in this country. Most, he says, are preventable. In Georgia, this type of accident in construction sites accounts for “about 30 to 40 percent” of the accidents investigated by OSHA in our state.
According to the deputy coroner, the young man had just brought back some water to the rest of the crew working on the house when he fell some 20 feet and struck his head on a floor. That crew included three other family members. The men were working for a company that had been subcontracted by Ashworth Homes.
Officials are saying that they had a difficult time determining what had occurred and even locating the men’s employer because “[n]one of these folks spoke English….[or] had Social Security cards; none had visas or ID cards.”
A local OSHA official says that the agency is continuing to investigate the cause of the man’s death and whether his employer violated any OSHA regulations. He noted, “Regardless of whether there is a fatality or not, when we document a hazard, we will address that in the form of a violation or citation to the employer.”
Employers are required under OSHA regulations to provide workers with “positive fall prevention” measures including nets and harnesses as well as with training. If the workers do not speak English, they are required to provide the necessary information in the employees’ native language.
The man’s body has been returned to his native home in Mexico. Meanwhile, the OSHA investigation is ongoing.
If a worker is injured or killed on the job and the employer’s lack of safety precautions may be to blame, the victim or surviving family members can and should seek legal guidance to determine what action can be taken. By holding an employer accountable for failing to provide adequate workplace safety, you may be able to not only recover necessary compensation for expenses and lost wages, but perhaps save other workers from injury or death.
Source: The Columbia County News-Times, “OSHA officials investigating death of construction worker in Bartram Trail,” Steve Crawford, May 31, 2015
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