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Deadly construction fall reveals safety hazards

Plastering jobs in Oklahoma can be dangerous due to the altitudes at which employees often work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides safety standards to govern the management of such projects. An Arizona-based contractor is facing more than $400,000 in fines in connection with 12 violations for which it was cited by OSHA on November 10. The incident, which caused the death of a 44-year-old worker, actually occurred at a job location in Texas.

The decedent was only employed on this project for one month at the time of the three-story fall. He was applying stucco underlayment, and reports indicate that there was no scaffolding in place at the time. Additionally, the man lacked a fall arrest system that could have stopped a fall and potentially prevented his death. Such safety equipment is typically required in the industry, and OSHA has deemed eight of the violations in this case to be egregious and willful. The company has been cited in the past for fall hazards at Arizona job locations, but fines in those cases were just over $5,800.

Construction is typically a hazardous profession, and the greatest cause of death in the industry is falls. The number of deadly falls on construction projects in 2014 was 337, which represented almost 40 percent of construction-related deaths for the year. Although safety hazards are among the factors that can contribute to serious workplace injuries or death from a fall, other causes can include careless actions by a worker, malfunction of equipment, or natural events such as rain.

An individual typically pursues medical care and compensation for work-related accidents through workers' compensation. However, egregious situations might involve serious errors or omissions by an employer or supervisor, which could warrant legal action. A lawyer may be helpful for assessing such a situation to determine what options are available.

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