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Region 1 News Release: 10-174-BOS/BOS 2010-078
Mon., Feb. 22, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites North Carolina and Georgia contractors following fatal worker fall from Epping, NH, water tower

CONCORD, N.H. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited two contractors responsible for the rehabilitation and painting of a municipal water tower in Epping, N.H., for alleged violations of safety standards following the Aug. 7, 2009, death of a worker who fell 90 feet from the tower.

OSHA's inspection found that the deceased worker's employer, Bullins Painting Inc., the Eden, N.C., subcontractor performing the tower work, failed to provide him with fall protection. Both Bullins Painting and the project's general contractor, Utility Services Inc. of Perry, Ga., failed to inspect fall protection equipment before each use, protect vertical lifelines against cuts and abrasions, and provide a ladder cage or equivalent safeguard for tower access ladders.

"This case is a clear and grave example of the human cost incurred when required fall protection safeguards are absent, ignored or inadequate," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "The loss of a worker's life could have been prevented if these protective measures had been in place and in use."

OSHA identified additional safety and health hazards for Bullins employees, including improper anchorage points for the lifelines, an uninspected suspended scaffold, respirator protection deficiencies, overexposure to respirable dust, fumes and solvents, improper transfer of flammable liquids, smoking while mixing flammable liquids, electrical hazards and failing to appropriately monitor the inside of the water tank for oxygen-deficient atmospheres before workers