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2 Firms Liable in Fatal Fall at Base

Monday, May 11, 2015

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KNOB NOSTER, MO—Federal authorities are holding a roofing company and general contractor both liable in the death of a 30-year-old father of two at Whiteman Air Force Base.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Midwest Roofing LLC and Infinite Energy Construction (IEC) with serious safety violations after an investigation into a fall that claimed the life of Dustin Thomas Evans, of Knob Noster.

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Dustin Evans, 30, fell to his death on the job Nov. 6, 2014. Investigators said he had worn no fall protection.

Evans, a volunteer firefighter with two young sons, was a master roofer with Rapid City, SD-based Midwest Roofing when he was found unresponsive Nov. 6, 2014, below a 32-foot extension ladder he was using to renovate a roof at the base.

Infinite Energy Construction, based in Kansas City, MO, was the general contractor on the project.

No Fall Equipment

OSHA investigators found that Evans had been working without fall protection.

"...[I]f his employer, Midwest Roofing, had given the man the required equipment to stop his fall, he might have lived to teach his sons how to find arrowheads, a boyhood pastime he shared with his grandfather," the agency said in announcing the citations.

OSHA cited Midwest Roofing for six serious safety violations and proposed fines totaling $29,400. IEC was cited for four serious safety violations related to lack of fall protection and fined $19,600.

Training and Clutter

According to the citations, employees were working at the edge of the roof top 22 feet up, hoisting up materials and tools with a nylon rope.

U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Laura Goodgame

The accident occurred during a renovation project (not pictured) at Missouri's Whiteman AFB. Here, weapons crew airmen assemble an inert bomb during a competition in February.

No guard rails or fall protection were in place, and employees had had no training in fall protection, the citations say.

In addition, employees on the roof had double-stacked eight-inch-high cinder blocks as a makeshift step to reach a 30-inch parapet wall leading to a ladder, the citations say.

Also, OSHA said, the ground and roof around the extension ladder were "cluttered' with rope, cords and wires, creating additional trip and fall hazards.

Each citation carried a requirement for abatement documentation or an additional penalty of $1,000 would be imposed.

About the Companies

Midwest Roofing could not be reached for comment Friday (May 8). A recording said the phone number had not set up voice mail.

No addition information about the company was available, and OSHA records showed no history.

Infinite Energy Construction

General contractor IEC, which has an office at Whiteman AFB, was cited for lack of fall protection.

IEC is an electrical contractor and general contractor with about 40 employees. The company has four offices outside Missouri and one at Whiteman AFB. IEC did not respond to a request for comment and has no record with OSHA.

The companies have 15 days from the issue date of the citations to contest the case.

Stop Falls

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction and the leading source of OSHA citations.

OSHA's two-week nationwide initiative, the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, aims to raise awareness about the importance of fall-protection training and equipment.

Millions of workers are participating in the event, which continues through May 15.


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

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