Citation resulted from accident investigation by Oregon OSHA
Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has
fined a Bend contractor more than $15,000 following an accident investigation
that found the company failed to protect workers from fall hazards on a
multistory apartment construction job in Gresham.
cited SGS Development LLC for three job safety violations – two of them repeat
offenses – including failing to ensure a temporary wooden staircase had the
structural integrity to support employees before allowing them to use it for
access as they worked.
As one worker
walked down the staircase, the temporary structure collapsed. The worker fell
18 feet onto the concrete ground floor. The worker suffered a spinal injury,
multiple back, leg, and body fractures, and loss of consciousness.
Falls are the
leading cause of death in the construction industry. While such accidents are
not uncommon on construction sites, they are preventable.
requirements to protect workers from falls are clear, as are the measures
employers can take to identify and effectively address such hazards,” said
Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “As this case demonstrates, the
consequences of choosing otherwise are all too real.”
Oregon OSHA launched
an investigation of SGS Development in June in response to the accident at the
apartment construction site in Gresham. In addition to citing the company for a
serious violation for exposing workers to a structurally unsound temporary
staircase, the division’s investigation found the company committed two repeat
offenses – both connected to fall-protection failures.
maintains rules for construction activities that specify the minimum height at
which workers must be protected from falling. SGS Development failed to
implement fall protection systems – such as a personal fall restraint system or
other measures – where employees were exposed to falling six feet or more to a
lower level. Instead, the company allowed three employees to install temporary wooden
staircases with no fall protection measures in place, exposing them to falls of
up to 22 feet. Meanwhile, SGS Development failed to provide two employees with
fall protection training.
The company was
cited for neglecting the same minimum height and training requirements in
December 2017, involving a different under-construction apartment complex.
OSHA rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses. The
citation against SGS Development carries a total proposed penalty of $15,625.
The fine amount includes a standard penalty reduction based on the small size
of the company.
In addition to
its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help
improve workplace safety and health.
technical staff members can answer questions about rules and how to apply them:
OSHA’s no-cost consultation services for help with safety and health programs:
locations and phone numbers: https://stage-osha.oregon.gov/Pages/maps.aspx
fall protection training by visiting Oregon OSHA’s Fall Protection Suite: https://stage-osha.oregon.gov/edu/courses/Pages/fall-protection-suite.aspx
agency’s A-to-Z topic page about fall protection, which includes rules, guides,
fact sheets, and other resources: https://stage-osha.oregon.gov/Pages/topics/fall-protection.aspx