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Fall Leads to Willful, Serious Violations

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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A Texas flooring company faces more than $66,000 in federal fines after a worker fell from a balcony at a commercial construction site, according to health and safety authorities.

Subfloor Systems, of Hurst, TX, received citations Thursday (Jan. 21) for one willful and one serious violation, according to a statement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA said it inspected a Fort Worth, TX, commercial construction site where the flooring and concrete company was working on July 29, 2015. The inspection occurred after a worker required hospitalization when that worker fell, the agency said. OSHA did not provide additional details about the hospitalization or the injury.

“We had an accident,” Tom Hatton, owner of Subfloor Systems, told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram the day after OSHA issued its citations. “We are going to cooperate with [OSHA]. This is the first serious accident we’ve had; some of our record-keeping wasn’t as up to date as it should be.”

© / leekris

OSHA said it inspected a Fort Worth, TX, commercial construction site after a Subfloor Systems employee was injured when he fell while working on a balcony.

Hatton told the daily newspaper that he has been in business more than 20 years.

Inspection Findings

During the inspection, OSHA said it found Subfloor Systems employees allegedly working on an unprotected surface with fall hazards greater than 6 feet. Specifically, OSHA said, foreman Juan Monjaras and three employees were working on a third-floor balcony 33 feet above the ground while foreman Fransisco Marquez and one other employee were working on a second-floor balcony that was 22 feet above the ground.

The agency issued the willful citation with a fine of $61,600 for the alleged lack of fall protection, according to OSHA’s citations.

Additionally, OSHA said it discovered that workers had not been trained to recognize fall hazards in a language they could understand. For the lack of a comprehendible training program, the agency issued the $5,390 serious violation. OSHA did not say in which language the workers should have been trained.

‘Preventable Fall Injuries’

“Subfloor Systems put its workers in harm’s way and exposed them to preventable fall injuries,” said Josh Bernstein, OSHA’s acting area director in Fort Worth. “Employers are responsible for providing training and fall protection. Subfloor Systems did neither.

“The company must take corrective action immediately before another worker needlessly suffers injury or worse because of its neglect,” continued Bernstein.

Subfloor Systems does not appear to have a website. According to OSHA inspection data, the company has received one other citation in the past 15 years: A serious violation in September 2007 that also was for lack of fall protection from a planned inspection that did not involve an accident or injury. For that violation, the company paid a $2,500 fine, the database indicates.

The company had 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, OSHA said.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Commercial Construction; Commercial contractors; Construction; Ethics; Fall protection; Floors; Good Technical Practice; Government; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Safety

Comment from Dennis Carrington, (1/26/2016, 9:39 AM)

Gee, I wonder what language they needed to train the workers in?

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