36-foot fall kills construction worker in New Braunfels, Texas; OSHA cites contractors

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Employers' names: Jose Miguel Charles, doing business as Pirul Trim Service, was the subcontractor and employer; and Blazer Building Inc. was the general contractor at an apartment construction site in New Braunfels, Texas.

Citations issued: Sept. 30, 2015

Investigation findings: Jose Miguel Charles and Blazer Building Inc. were cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to provide adequate fall protection for a worker who fell 36 feet from a fourth floor apartment complex under construction. Jose Miguel Charles was cited for one willful violation for failing to properly secure scaffolding, five serious violations for failing to train workers on scaffolding and forklifts; develop a hazard communication program; ensure the scaffold was designed by a qualified person and ensure forklift modifications were safe. One other violation was cited for failing to develop a respiratory program. Blazer Building Inc. was cited for four serious violations for failing to conduct frequent and regular inspections of the job site, ensure hand wash facilities were provided, ensure operators were trained on forklifts and ensure forklift modifications were safe.

Proposed Penalties: Jose Miguel Charles was fined $38,800 and Blazer Building Inc. was fined $8,400.

Quote: 'This man's death was heartbreaking – and totally avoidable. Falls are preventable yet they continue to be the leading killer of workers at construction sites,' said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. 'General contractors and subcontractors must provide safe, sturdy and approved access for employees working so high above the ground.'

Link to the citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JoseMiguelCharles_1050715.pdf* and
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PriorityPersonnelInc_1094157.pdf

Information: Jose Miguel Charles and Blazer Building, both headquartered in Houston have 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.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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