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A Georgia contractor has been cited and is facing $54,000 in proposed fines after a worker fell to his death through a skylight.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Athens, Georgia-based Martin Mechanical Contractors Inc. for the November 2015 incident in which 39-year-old HVAC installer Timothy O'Neal Gearing lost his balance when he and a co-worker were trying to unjam a saw stuck in a building's metal roof, according to an agency news release issued on Monday. He fell through an unguarded skylight to the concrete ground about 15 feet below and later died from his injuries.
The agency issued a willful citation to Martin Mechanical for failing to protect workers from tripping or falling into an unguarded sky light. The mechanical, plumbing and electrical contractor was also issued an other-than-serious citation for failing to report a fatality to OSHA within eight hours, per the agency's
Martin Mechanical has no previous OSHA inspection history, according to the agency.
“This tragedy was preventable,” William Fulcher, OSHA's area director in the Atlanta-East Office, said in a statement. “Martin Mechanical Contractors knowingly exposed its workers to dangerous fall hazards and failed to take action to protect them. Employers are responsible for either addressing workplace hazards or not putting workers at risk of being injured or killed. Our investigation found Gearing's employer did neither.”
A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.
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