Jack Smiley of Georgia-based Smiley Plaster Co. has been fined $57,000 following a job site incident in which one of his workers fell to his death while working on the renovation of a dormitory at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro. Following an investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that began after the September 2013 fatality, Smiley was cited by the federal agency for five alleged safety violations, including a willful violation of the law. If you have been injured in a job site accident in Atlanta, Marietta, or elsewhere in Georgia, consult our reputable lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak today, to discuss the possibility of filing a workers’ compensation claim for medical or disability benefits.

Risk of Construction Site Falls

According to the GA workplace accident report, a 42-year-old worker fell about 19 feet off scaffolding to his death while applying stucco to a pre-existing building as part of the East Georgia State College renovations in September 2013. In a report issued on March 17, 2014, OSHA’s area director in Savannah, Robert Vazzi, blamed Smiley’s company for the job-site fatality saying, “A worker died after the employer knowingly failed to provide a properly built scaffold system to protect employees from fall hazards.” He also noted in the OSHA report that falls are the leading cause of worker deaths in the construction industry, and called upon employers to provide proper protection to reduce the risk of worker injuries and fatalities.

Employer Demonstrated “Indifference” for Worker Safety

In response to the GA workplace accident, OSHA issued a willful citation to Smiley Plaster Co. for its failure to provide fall protection to employees working from scaffolding at heights exceeding ten feet. As a result of the willful violation, Smiley’s company will be included in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which pays special attention to employers who have demonstrated indifference to their legal obligations by committing willful or repeat job-site violations. The company was also cited for three serious violations for failing to provide adequate scaffolding foundation, failing to provide debris protection, and failing to brace the scaffolding; and one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the worker death within eight hours of the incident.

Contact Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Today

Construction sites are inherently dangerous, and when employers fail to provide workers with proper safety equipment and take steps to protect them from harm, the consequences can be devastating. In 2012 alone, there were 775 construction-related fatalities throughout the United States, and according to OSHA, 269 of these worker deaths involved a construction site fall. If you have suffered injuries in a Georgia workplace accident, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal fall at a construction site, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our workers’ compensation lawyers have years of experience protecting the rights of work accident victims and their families throughout the state of Georgia.

Source: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=25746

Jaret A. Spevak
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Atlanta Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Attorney With 20+ Years Experience
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