Serious Violation Draws Serious Fine

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On August 14, 2014, a 49-year-old tower worker fell nine stories to his death while painting a communications tower near Stockton, Illinois. OSHA believes the fatality occurred because the man’s employer, Sherwood Tower Service, did not provide an adequate fall protection system while he was working on the tower. They have cited the company for two willful and one serious safety violation. OSHA has also placed Sherwood Tower in its Severe Violator Enforcement program. OSHA has proposed penalties of $114,800 for the company, based in Terre Haute, Indiana. “Three children are without a father because of a preventable tragedy. No one should have to endure such a painful loss ever. Inspecting and making sure protective equipment is in use and working properly is a common-sense safety procedure that saves lives and prevents injuries,” said Jacob Scott, OSHA’s area director in North Aurora. “Companies that ask their employees to work above the ground have a responsibility to provide adequate fall protection to workers. OSHA has seen a disturbing trend in preventable deaths and injuries in the telecommunications industry.” OSHA also found that the positioning device harness used by the fallen worker should have been replaced as it showed visible signs of wear, damage, and deterioration.

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