This case involves several construction workers who fell four stories from a crane lift basket. The crane in question was part of a large construction site for the renovation of several historic buildings. While the workers were in the lift basket, the crane collapsed, killing the workers. It was alleged that the construction site was not up to OSHA regulations and that the site manager failed to provide proper safeguards for their employees. An expert in OSHA regulations for large construction sites was sought to inspect the site in question, review the case facts, and determine if the site manager was in compliance with OSHA standards.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you familiar with OSHA safety standards for construction sites?
- 2. What steps could be taken, if any, to prevent an employee from falling through wooden planks?
Expert Witness Response E-006754
I am very familiar with the OSHA safety standards and protocol because I direct the OSHA consultation program for OSHA in my state. I have 37 years of environmental health and safety management experience in construction and non-construction environments. This hazard could have been mitigated in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, the employer was obligated to assure hazards were identified and addressed before exposing workers to unsafe conditions. The employer was also required to determine if the walking and working surfaces had the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely. After these two issues are addressed, I can comment about the safest protocols. I have reviewed numerous construction fall incidents involving unsafe working surfaces.
Expert Witness Response E-001447
I have worked in the OSHA field for 30 years. I am a certified instructor trainer and instructor for the OSHA training institute in construction. I am also a construction health and safety technician. There are requirements for frequent and regular site inspections by competent persons. There are also specifications for safe access to working areas. There were likely alternate options available which would have prevented the fall from happening.