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OSHA Issues Nearly $300K in Fines After Three Massachusetts Roofing Workers are Hurt in Fall Accident

Three roofing workers who were apparently employed by a Beverly, Massachusetts home improvement company were reportedly hospitalized after falling two stories. According to inspectors from the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the employees were working on an unsafe scaffolding platform that could not support their combined weight at the time of the accident. Sadly, the platform used was reportedly marked “not for scaffold use.”

Following the accident, the workers were apparently transported to a local emergency room for treatment. Unfortunately, the roofing employees allegedly suffered a variety of serious injuries, including broken bones, eye harm, a punctured lung, and spinal cord injuries.

After examining the Wenham job site, OSHA inspectors purportedly uncovered a number of safety violations. As a result, OSHA issued almost $300,000 in fines to the home improvement company that was in charge of operations. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health stated the three employees would not have been hurt if the company had simply complied with federal safety regulations.

Other job site fall hazards identified by OSHA included scaffold platforms that were too high, ladders that were not long enough, and a failure to ensure workers utilized fall protection measures. In addition, inspectors apparently uncovered defective scaffolding that was not anchored appropriately and a lack of adequately trained employees. As a result, the home improvement company was accused of one repeat, three willful, and five serious health and safety violations.

Combined, the workers’ employer and the home improvement company in charge of the job received 47 OSHA violations following five inspections since 2005. The prior violations resulted in about $125,000 in penalties. At least 11 of those violations related to preventable employee fall hazards. In the U.S., falls are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities. According to OSHA, there were almost 800 tragic fall injuries and nearly 300 work-related fall deaths in Massachusetts and across the nation in 2013.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was established to reduce preventable workplace accidents. The law requires employers to provide workers with reasonably safe working environments and comply with certain health and safety regulations. Whenever a serious workplace accident occurs, OSHA will normally investigate whether an employer complied with established safety standards at the job site.

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system can be difficult to navigate on your own. If you were hurt at work in Boston, you should contact a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer to help you recover the benefits you may be entitled to. The caring attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. are available to help you achieve the damages you deserve based on the severity of your fall or other work-related accident harm. To learn more about your rights under the law, contact Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. online or give us a call today at 800-367-0871.

Additional Resources:

Three Massachusetts roofers hospitalized after substandard scaffold breaks, OSHA News Release dated April 6, 2015

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