Sherwood Tower Services Challenges OSHA Fines

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On August 10, 2014, Thomas Lucas of Toledo, Illinois, 49, fatally fell about nine stories while painting a communications tower near Stockton, Illinois. OSHA fined Sherwood Tower Services on February 12, 2015, citing that the company, “did not provide an adequate fall protection system while he worked high above the ground.” OSHA also cited the company for two willful, and one serious safety violation. The Administration also placed Sherwood Tower in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and proposed penalties of $114,800. The Telegraph Herald reported Sunday that the Terre Haute, Indiana, company is challenging the massive fine. “The case will be heard before an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which is an independent federal agency that provides trial and appellate review of OSHA citations or penalties. The commission functions as a court. Decisions are made by administrative law judges after conducting hearings and receiving evidence. A mediation hearing is set for July 1,” The Telegraph Herald reported. During the August investigation, OSHA not only found a lack of personal fall protection but also found the positioning device harness used by the fallen worker should have been replaced because it was heavily painted and showed visible signs of wear, damage and deterioration. (OSHA) “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.”

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