Excuse me while I vent. I recently came across this article about a Nebraska contractor who’s fighting with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over a $70,000 federal fine resulting from the death of one of his employees. The owner claims two employees had been working on a roof in downtown Omaha without his knowledge on July 17, 2013, when one of the men fell three stories to a lower roof and died.
Here’s the kicker. According to OSHA, the owner of the company has been cited for the same violations before. In 2010, this contractor was issued five serious citations for safety violations, including lack of fall protection and lack of training, and fined $4,000. He was previously cited in 2006 for another fall protection violation. OSHA is also citing lack of fall protection and lack of training in the current case. The owner is contesting the latest fine because he says it’s “too high.”
This case is another important reason to ensure that the contractor you hire implements a safety program within his organization, and that people are held accountable for following it.
Not only did a man lose his life, there is now a terrible ripple effect started. All the warranties this contractor has provided to customers mean nothing after he goes out of business. He will also have to deal with out-of-this-world workman’s comp and other insurance rates. I’m guessing another issue may be a lawsuit from the deceased’s family for negligence and lack of concern for the safety of his employees.
It always blows me away when I see people who want to point the finger and blame everyone else for their issues. If an entire football team is performing poorly, they replace the coach, not all the players. It’s the same with us at our Northern Virginia roofing company. As the President/Owner of Roofing & More, Inc., it’s my job to ensure that our employees are following the processes and procedures of OSHA and our company, to take responsibility for the company that I own and to do things right according to the law, for the protection of our customer, for the protection of our employee, and for the protection of our company.
We all need to take responsibility for ourselves. Thanks for reading.
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