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  • Julie Sumner

Fatal Fall; $1.79M Fine

A fatality at the workplace is the thing that every employer dreads. It is the worst thing that can happen. You don't just lose an employee - you lose a friend, a co-worker, someone who often felt like family. It has an impact that lasts forever. I know, because I have been there with employers as they have grieved the loss of their employees who were tragically killed or injured. I have sat with grown men as they have sobbed because their best friend, who they've worked with for 20 years, isn't coming back tomorrow. Some of those men even had to find other jobs because they couldn't face returning to the work site afterwards.


You hope it never happens. And most employers do everything in their power to make sure that it doesn't. It appears that one roofing contractor in Maine may not have. OSHA just cited this employer for "egregious, willful, repeat, and serious workplace safety violations" that ultimately led to the death of one of its employees. The total fines this roofing contractor is facing are over $1.7 million. He has also been indicted by a grand jury for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter. And if the allegations that OSHA makes in its press release are true, it sounds like this owner is getting what he deserves. (See the Press Release at: https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/region1/06122019).


It appears that this roofing contractor was not ensuring that his employees were using fall protection. It is something so simple, and yet so important.


An employer can easily ensure that every employee is properly outfitted in fall protection before he or she begins working. It can be as easy as requiring that the supervisor snap a picture of the employee in his/her fall protection before work commences. Yes, Capture can help you do that (and will even date and time stamp the photo for you!), but whether you use Capture or not, take a minute to think about what extra steps you could be taking to protect your employees. It truly could mean the difference between life and death.


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