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$7,600 Fine for Fatal, Serious Falls

Monday, February 16, 2015

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The death of a Nebraska worker in a 16-foot fall—and the injuries to the buddy who fell trying to save him—will cost their employer a maximum of $7,600, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined.

Roeder Construction (also known as Dan Roeder Concrete), of Kearney, NE, did not provide fall protection or training that could have prevented the accident Sept. 15, OSHA said.

Nor did the company report the fatal incident as required, OSHA said. The agency "learned of" the incident eight days later, according to the OSHA citations document.

Photos: OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and about one-third of fatal falls are from roofs. Fall protection is also a leading source of OSHA violations.

Roeder Construction did not answer its phone Friday (Feb. 13) and did not accept messages.

Life-Saving Effort

The incident occurred as a 42-year-old and a 25-year-old worker were installing a heavy-duty tarpaulin on the roof of a home in Grand Island, NE. The workers were not identified.

OSHA said the 42-year-old lost his balance and started to fall, prompting his co-worker to try to catch him. As a result, both men ended up falling 16 feet, OSHA said.

OSHA requires fall protection in residential construction for activities at six feet or higher.

The older worker died two days later in the hospital; his co-worker was treated for torn ligaments and bruising, then released.

Both victims had worked in roofing before, but had been with Kearney only about a month, OSHA said.

Roeder received two serious citations, carrying $5,600 in fines, for lack of fall protection and lack of training. Another citation, with a $2,000 fine, involved failure to report the accident.


OSHA's Stop Falls campaign offers detailed resources in English and Spanish on preventing falls. A separate Fact Sheet offers guidance on Reducing Falls during Residential Construction.

OSHA records show no other cases for Roeder Construction. The company has 15 days to contest the case or comply.

Stopping Falls

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction and a leading source of OSHA citations. Nearly 700 workers were killed as the result of falls, trips and slips in 2013; one-third of fatal falls involve falls from roofs.

OSHA's Stop Falls campaign offers detailed resources in English and Spanish on preventing falls. A separate Fact Sheet offers guidance on Reducing Falls during Residential Construction.

"Even experienced roofers are exposed to unpredictable fall hazards caused by uneven sheathing, sudden gusts of wind, loose roofing materials, and surfaces that become slick when wet," OSHA notes.

"Taking appropriate fall protection measures reduces risks and saves lives."


Tagged categories: Fall protection; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; Roofing contractors; Worker training

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