Posted on Nov 29, 2010
In 2006, a worker for Thomas Industrial Coatings Inc. fell 40 feet to his death while working on a scaffold on one of the company’s worksites. Just months later, another worker fell the same distance from the very same scaffold and also died in an on-the-job accident. Even more shockingly, a third worker died six months before the latter two incidents due to a fall from scaffolding into the Missouri River. Thomas Industrial Coatings Inc. is a painting contractor.

After the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated these cases, they found a number of serious safety violations that could have led to the deaths of their workers. More specifically, the OSHA found that the Pevely, Missouri, construction company was not providing their workers with safety harnesses, scaffolding gap guards, and other mandatory safety equipment that would prevent fall accidents, fall injuries, and fatal falls. All in all, the OSHA cited Thomas Industrial Coatings for six serious violations and twelve willful violations. The fines came to a total of $871,500 in penalties. Two of the accidents took place in the Kansas City area, while the third worker accident took place in St. Louis.

The company appealed the fines, saying that they should not have to pay for the same violation for every worker that was put into danger. However, an Administrative Law Judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled to uphold the decision, the violations, and the fine.

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