PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL – A fall from elevation, the leading cause of death in the construction industry, has claimed another victim; this time a 19-year-old worker in Port Saint Lucie whose fatal injuries in January 2022 – a federal workplace safety investigation has determined – could have been prevented if their employer used required fall protection.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the employee of Union Carpentry LLC – a Fort Pierce carpentry contractor – was installing trusses and plywood sheathing on a residential development clubhouse when they fell about 25 feet onto a concrete floor. OSHA cited the contractor for one willful violation for failing to ensure employees wore fall protection while exposed to fall hazards, and one serious violation for failing to train workers on the correct use of fall arrest systems.

The agency has proposed $32,113 in penalties.

“Falls from elevation cause the most fatalities in the construction industry, and time and again, we find employers exposing workers to fall hazards by ignoring safety standards,” said OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Employers who fail to comply with fall protection standards put the lives and well-being of employees at risk and leave families to grieve when unnecessary tragedy strikes. OSHA will remain vigilant in holding employers accountable when they disregard their legal obligation to provide a safe work environment.”  

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

Florida communities experienced 275 fatal workplace incidents in 2020, and 77 of those involved falls, slips and trips. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that falls account for more than one in three of all construction industry deaths.     

Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and free help on complying with OSHA standards.

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