Masonry Contractor Facing $77,000 in Fines After Worker Dies in Fall

Florida contractor Coastal Masonry cited for willful and serious fall-protection violations after worker falls 70 ft. to his death while attempting to straighten bent rebar

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Coastal Masonry, Pompano Beach, Fla., for one willful and one serious safety violation following the death of a worker who fell approximately 70 feet while attempting to straighten a piece of bent rebar at a work site on Brickel Bay Drive in Miami. The company was erecting the interior and exterior walls for a multilevel condominium. OSHA initiated its inspection in May in response to the fatality.

The willful violation involves the employer failing to ensure that workers wearing fall protection systems were not exposed to free-fall hazards greater than 6 feet. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The serious violation involves the employer's failure to inspect fall protection equipment worn by workers before use to ensure defective equipment is removed from service. A serious violation occurs 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.

The citations for the violations carry $77,000 in proposed penalties. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Fort Lauderdale area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.