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Plasterers Fined in ‘Senseless’ Death

Thursday, November 12, 2015

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A pair of Arizona plaster and stucco contractors is facing more than $407,000 in fines after a 44-year-old worker fell off an unguarded balcony to his death in May.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited both Design Plastering Inc. and Design Plastering West LLC., of Phoenix, for eight egregious willful and four serious violations in the wake of the incident in Dallas.

fall protection
OSHA

OSHA said the companies failed to protect workers from falls of up to 23 feet.

Proposed fines total $407,400 in the case.

The companies declined to comment Wednesday (Nov. 11) on the allegations.

Fatal Fall

Jorge Carrion Torres fell from a third-story balcony as he worked on the exterior of an apartment complex on May 14, 2015.

Torres had only been on the job for one month when the incident occurred, OSHA reported.

The federal agency said he had been applying stucco underlayment to the balcony walls.

His employers had allegedly failed to install scaffolding and had not provided Torres or his co-workers with personal fall protection, according to the citation document.

Zero Tolerance

“When an employer fails to put up a guardrail or scaffolding, or doesn't provide personal fall-arrest systems, anyone working at a height of six feet or more is defenseless against a fall,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA will not tolerate this kind of employer behavior.”

Michaels added that the “senseless loss of a man's life is the result of this employer's failure to comply with clear OSHA safety requirements despite the fact that it had been previously cited for the same violations."

Falls

Design Plastering has been fined $5,850 for fall hazard related violations in the past, according to OSHA.

“Clearly, these penalties were not sufficient to deter this employer's unlawful actions," Michaels said.

The plaster and stucco contractors employ about 90 workers, according to OSHA. The companies have 15 business days to respond to the citations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one in five private industry worker deaths in 2014 were in construction. Falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers, accounting for nearly 40 ercent of the industry's 2014 fatalities.

   

Tagged categories: Citations; Contractors; Enforcement; Fall protection; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; Plasters

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