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Contractor cited for lack of training, safety gear in worker's fatal fall

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Federal regulators cited and proposed $36,000 in penalties against a Nebraska contractor after an employee fell to his death.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the death of the 39-year-old worker in October could have been prevented if Lincoln, Nebraska-based Custom Contracting Inc. had provided the required fall protection, the agency said Thursday in a statement. The employee was installing metal roofing sheets on a commercial building in Raymond, Nebraska, when he fell more than 20 feet to the concrete below and suffered fatal injuries, according to the statement.

Custom Contracting did not provide its roof workers with required fall protection, such as safety nets or a personal fall-arrest system, and failed to train workers to recognize fall hazards, render first aid and operate powered industrial vehicles, according to the agency.

Falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for nearly 40% of fatalities in 2014, according to OSHA.

“Fatal incidents like these are entirely preventable,” Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Omaha, Nebraska, said in the statement. “They have tragic consequences for the victims, their families and their communities.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.