SYRACUSE, NY – A construction contractor could have prevented an employee’s fatal fall at a Smyrna, New York job site in December 2023 by providing adequate fall protection and training employees in its effective use, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found.Inspectors with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found A.W. Stiles Contractors Inc. of McMinnville, Tennessee, failed to provide the worker who was fatally injured and three other employees with effective fall protection, exposing them to falls of 23 feet as they replaced an aluminum standing seam roof on a building at Baillie Lumber Co. OSHA also determined the company neglected to ensure its employees were trained on fall hazards, in the use of personal fall arrest systems and on the correct procedures for installing, maintaining and inspecting the fall protection systems on site. In addition, A.W. Stiles designed, installed and used fall protection systems at the Smyrna worksite without the supervision of a qualified person, in violation of OSHA requirements. The limited fall protection systems in place were neither installed nor used correctly. Inspectors also found A.W. Stiles did not evaluate respiratory hazards for employees using respirators and failed to ensure workers were medically able to use respirators. These conditions resulted in OSHA citing the company for eight serious violations, with a total of $83,885 in proposed penalties. “Falls are the leading cause of construction industry deaths and yet this company chose to ignore federal standards and exposed four employees — including the deceased — to this deadly hazard,” said OSHA Area Director Jeffrey Prebish in Syracuse, New York. “This led OSHA to cite and fine A.W. Stiles for the lack of fall protection on an instance-by-instance basis – one citation for each of the four exposed workers.”View the citations OSHA issued to A.W. Stiles Contractors Inc. “As is often the case in workplace falls from elevations, this tragedy could have been prevented had A.W. Stiles Contractors Inc. followed and maintained basic, commonsense and legally required safeguards. Employers must commit to providing and using effective fall protection systems and equipment, and training workers in their use,” added Prebish.The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 395 people died in workplace falls from elevation in 2022.A.W. Stiles Contractors Inc. provides building, repairs, parts and services for the lumber industry. 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 and its national emphasis program to prevent workplace falls.OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures. The agency also offers compliance assistance resources on Protecting Roofing Workers and recommendations for developing a safety and health program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *