OSHA investigates deadly Sutherland construction accident

Published: Mar. 14, 2016 at 10:44 PM CDT
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The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Omaha Area Office has opened an investigation into a report that a 62-year-old worker died after falling more than 38-feet while installing a platform at a construction site in Sutherland, Nebraska, on March 9, 2016.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the worker who had been on the job for only a month,” said Darwin Craig, OSHA’s Acting Area Director in Omaha. “OSHA will be conducting a thorough investigation to see if any violations of safety procedures contributed to this tragic incident. Falls remain the leading cause of death on the job for construction workers.”

Initial reports indicate that the employee was in the process of installing a platform for work to be done on a grain leg when he fell to the ground below sustaining blunt force trauma injuries.

The site was being managed by Elite Ag Systems Inc., of Buffalo Lake, Minnesota. Elite Ag Systems has no previous OSHA history.

To assist employers and employers in preventing falls, OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.

OSHA’s annual Falls Stand Down campaign is scheduled for the week of May 2-6, 2016.

The campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program and provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use gear properly.