The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that an Administrative Law Judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has ruled in favor of upholding citations issued to Thomas Industrial Coatings Inc. of Pevely, Mo., following an investigation into two separate worker deaths at the same worksite.
In the decision, the Commission judge affirmed a total of six serious and 12 willful violations, with an assessed penalty of $871,500. Of significance was the judge’s affirmation of OSHA’s egregious or violation-by-violation penalty policy, where eight willful violations were issued to the company accounting for each employee exposed to the same fall hazard.
In 2006, two of the company’s employees fell 40 feet from the same scaffold platform, on the same worksite, within two months of each other. Those two deaths followed the death of another Thomas Industrial Coatings employee just three months prior who fell from a scaffold in the St. Louis, Mo., area, and subsequently drowned in the Missouri River.
Following investigations into the deaths of the two employees in 2006, OSHA cited Thomas Industrial Coatings for serious and willful violations, and proposed substantial penalties. The citations specifically addressed the employer’s failure to provide workers with fall protection and/or guarding of scaffold platform openings and training in the use of fall protection.
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