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Company faces fines for fatal construction accident

Many construction accidents and deaths are caused by falls, many which are preventable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration apparently felt that way about a fatal construction accident that happened in Pulaski, New York, in November. A company is being held liable for a 23-year-old employee's death and is now facing hefty fines.

MTL Design Inc., based in Watertown, may have to pay $88,900 in fines for safety violations resulting in the employee's death after he fell 24 feet off a car dealership's roof. MTL Design was given one citation for a willful violation due to the lack of fall protection. The employee was not given the opportunity to connect his safety harness to some point and stop him in the event of a fall. The man also did not receive adequate training to recognize safety hazards and secure the decking.

OSHA found three other hazards during the investigation and gave citations for those as well. MTL Design has three options: pay the fines, contest the violations or meet with OSHA within the next 15 days.

The man was part of crew in charge of installing metal decking and a gust of wind knocked him down as he was laying down sheets of decking. He was taken to a hospital in Syracuse, but later died.

Unfortunately, many construction companies fail to properly train employees. This is especially troublesome considering that construction is one of the most dangerous industries. Construction site accidents can cause serious injuries and even death, as seen in this case. When employees are injured on the job, workers' compensation applies. However, when employees are killed, it becomes a legal issue and the company may have to deal with a wrongful death claim as well.

Source: Syracuse.com, "Company cited for 'entirely preventable' death at Pulaski construction site" Rick Moriarty, May. 07, 2014

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