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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Montana man who fell off roof did not have fall protection

Many Montana employers value their employees and provide them with the proper training, protection measures and a safe working environment. However, there are employers who can overlook serious safety hazards and can be negligent by failing to comply with state and federal safety guidelines. These oversights are the reason that too many workplace accidents occur, including those that can result in serious injuries or even death.

Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency investigated a roofing company after one worker suffered a fatal workplace accident. According to OSHA’s initial report, the 51-year-old worker died after a 9-foot fall. Additionally, he was not wearing proper gear for fall protection and according to the region’s OSHA director, the company failed to call in the accident for almost 8 hours. OSHA is still looking into the case and has not written any citations yet. 

While it is still unclear as to whether the employee was even provided with proper protection gear, this is not the first time that this same company has been cited by OSHA for fall-related violations.

In fact, OSHA fined the company $15,000 in 2004 because of 15 violations, one of which was failure to provide proper fall protection to workers. The roofing company was also fined in 2012 for lack of fall protection gear and for failing to property train workers in fall protection.

Roofing and many other construction-related jobs put employees at serious risk of experiencing severe injuries; therefore, it is imperative that employers provide their workers with a safe working environment, proper protection materials and proper training to prevent injuries. In this case, it was suggested that the roofer could have survived the accident if he had proper fall protection gear.

While it may be impossible to prevent every workplace accident, providing workers with the proper tools and education can help minimize the chances for on-the-job accidents and keep workers safer in the event of an accident. If an employer fails to do this, injured workers or their families may have the option of holding a negligent party accountable for the damages that result from a tragic accident.

Source: NBC Montana KECI, "OSHA to propose citation to Missoula roofing company after fatal accident," Emily Adamson, April 15, 2014

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