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Subcontractor found guilty for worker’s falling death

Construction site

A federal court found Pacific, Missouri-based DNRB Inc., a steel erection company doing business as Fastrack Erectors, guilty in the 2014 death of an employee who fell while working on a warehouse construction project in Kansas City.

Fastrack did not provide adequate fall-protection equipment or enforce U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, leading to the death of 22-year-old journeyman ironworker Eric Roach, said the verdict issued by the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri on Jan. 20. Mr. Roach fell 36 feet while walking across a steel beam on July 24, 2014, and died the following day from his injuries. He was not tied off on the steel or otherwise protected from falling, according to the verdict.

The verdict found that Mr. Roach requested fall protection equipment on his first day on the job and even searched company vehicles and gang boxes for such equipment. The only personal fall protection equipment Mr. Roach had was his own personal harness and lanyard, along with a choker that he supplied, the verdict said. Mr. Roach used the choker only when performing stationary work. Protection during other times would have required additional safety equipment, which Fastrack did not provide, the verdict said.

The court also found that the foreman knew workers were not using fall protection equipment while working more than 30 feet above ground and failed to correct the situation.

OSHA cited Fastrack Erectors for seven willful and three serious violations with proposed fines of $511,000 on Jan. 21, 2015, following an investigation of the incident.

Federal statutes require employees working in steel erection activities at a height of more than 15 feet to be protected from fall hazards by guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest equipment, positioning devices or fall-restraint systems, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in November 2015, when it filed the case against Fastrack.

The contractor on the 300,000-square-foot warehouse project was Riverside, Missouri-based ARCO National Construction-KC Inc., which hired Fastrack as a subcontractor to erect steel framing. Ironworkers Local 10, a Kansas City-based union, supplied ironworkers who were working as Fastrack employees on the job site.

“The court holds Fastrack’s conduct was the cause in fact of Roach’s death because it finds that had the appropriate fall protection equipment been available, Roach would have used it and not fallen to his death,” the verdict said. “Had he had access to an appropriate fall arrest system, and been required to use it, he would have fallen no more than six feet before his fall stopped, and he would not have died.”



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