OSHA fines Fastrack Erectors $511,000 for safety violations following worker fatality

by / Saturday, 31 January 2015 / Published in Uncategorized

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Fastrack Erectors Inc., Pacific, Mo., after a worker was killed because the company did not provide fall protection; OSHA has proposed penalties of $511,000 for the company.

On July 25, 2014, a 22-year-old apprentice ironworker fell more than 30 feet to his death while standing on a 9-inch-wide steel girder on a building under construction in Kansas City, Mo. The worker had been on the job for a few weeks and was not provided fall protection by his employer, Fastrack Erectors, a subcontractor on the construction job. After an investigation, OSHA has cited Fastrack Erectors for seven willful and three serious safety violations and placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“This young man had his whole life ahead of him,” says Marcia Drumm, OSHA’s regional administrator. “His dreams of marriage, children and exploring the great outdoors were cut short because his employer failed to provide fall protection, a violation of its own safety manual and OSHA rules. This tragedy illustrates how quickly a worker can die when fall protection is not provided, and why it’s so important.”

OSHA’s inspection found that Fastrack Erectors violated its own safety manual and a signed contract with the site’s general contractor, ARCO National Construction-KC Inc., Riverside, Mo.; the contract required subcontractor personnel who worked at heights higher than 6 feet to be provided with adequate fall protection.

Fastrack Erectors also allowed workers to climb the scissor lift guardrails to access the steel frame and decking, as well as to climb the rails of the aerial lift basket. A total of seven willful violations were cited; a willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

OSHA also found Fastrack Erectors used makeshift devices on scaffold platforms to increase working height; did not inspect fall-arrest systems before use; and failed to instruct workers regarding the use and application of fall-protection equipment, resulting in three serious violations. An OSHA violation is serious when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

ARCO National Construction-KC has been cited for four serious violations, including lack of fall protection during steel erection activities, using makeshift devices to increase working heights, and climbing the guardrails of aerial and scissor lifts. OSHA has proposed penalties of $24,000.

Fastrack Erectors employs 40 workers who specialize in structural steel, miscellaneous steel, pre-engineered metal buildings, ornamental metal handrails and precast installation. The company employs union ironworkers from local union halls; Ironworkers Local 10 in Kansas City represented the 16 employees at the site.

To view the current citations, click here.

OSHA maintains a Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish regarding fall-protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. To view the page in English, click here. To view the page in Spanish, click here.

Both companies cited have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report 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 Kansas City Area Office at (816) 483-9531.