OSHA Fines Georgia Contractor $61K for Fatal Fall

Framing News,

Originally Published by: OSHA — June 25, 2024
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A five-man crew's first day working to remove tar and stone from metal roof panels at a Macon warehouse ended abruptly in November 2023 when a 54-year-old laborer tragically suffered fatal injuries after stepping on a skylight and falling about 19 feet.

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found Georgia construction contractor could have prevented by providing their employees with required fall protection.

Investigators with the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the employee of NOR-D LLC in Johns Creek stepped on the skylight after dumping debris off the warehouse's roof. An ambulance rushed the worker, who suffered severe injuries, to a nearby hospital where they succumbed to their injuries hours later. In addition, NOR-D LLC failed to notify OSHA of the incident within the required 8 hours.

OSHA's inspection found the company failed to protect its employees by not using fall protection systems, leaving skylights without safety guardrails on the roof the day of the fatal incident. Despite this tragic incident, agency inspectors once again found NOR-D LLC allowing employees to work without these life-saving measures 2 months later after OSHA was notified of the violations.

"After more than 20 years of experience as a roofing and framing contractor, NOR-D LLC should know the work its employees do is dangerous and potentially fatal, especially when safety protocols are ignored," said OSHA Area Director Joshua Turner in Atlanta. "Falls are widely known as the leading cause of death in the construction industry and had required fall protections been in place in this case, a worker's family, friends and co-workers would not be left now to grieve a terrible loss."

OSHA identified nine serious violations by NOR-D LLC that exposed workers to falls and other hazards when the company did the following:

  • Failed to provide fall protection systems to workers on a roof at heights of 19 feet.
  • Failed to install covers or guardrails on the roof's skylights.
  • Permitted workers to use a forklift, elevating workers on a pallet to the upper roof level.
  • Improperly used extension ladders that failed to reach at least 3 feet higher than the top of the roof.
  • Allowed employees to use a ladder with structural defects.
  • Permitted workers to operate nail guns at 120 PSI without protective eyewear.
  • Did not train forklift operators to operate powered industrial trucks.
  • Failed to report within 8-hours the death of an employee resulting from a work-related incident.

In addition, the agency cited the employer with a serious violation for not ensuring the availability of accessible medical treatment for the injured employee.

"Despite our ongoing efforts to educate employers and workers about the importance of fall safety protection, some employers unfortunately choose to ignore simple and effective ways to save lives and avoid employees suffering serious injuries," Turner added. "The Atlanta East OSHA Area office will continue to aggressively enforce standards that protect workers and prevent future fatalities and injuries."

OSHA proposed $61,065 in penalties to address the violations, an amount set by federal statute.

Established in 2013, NOR-D LLC is a residential and commercial framing and roofing contractor headquartered in Johns Creek.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA.