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Massachusetts Construction Worker’s Death Last Year Was Preventable, OSHA Finds

In August of 2015, a Massachusetts worker was killed when an aerial lift he was operating tipped over. Kevin Miranda was operating the lift when it tipped, ejecting him from the operator’s basket and throwing him 16 feet through the air. Following the accident, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an investigation of Miranda’s employer, Skyline Contracting and Roofing Corp. of Taunton. Just this month, the administration determined that his death could have been prevented if Skyline had adhered to federal and industry safety standards. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.

At the time of the accident, the aerial lift’s boom was extended to a height of 45 feet. OSHA inspectors noted several safety violations, including that the lift was placed on uneven ground and the lanyard on Miranda’s fall protection system was not attached to the lift. OSHA also concluded that Skyline had failed to train Miranda to recognize such a hazard, an important requirement of the agency’s standards.  As such, Skyline was cited for one serious violation and two willful violations, totaling $102,900. The company must comply with the penalties and citations and meet with OSHA’s area director within 15 days from the receipt of the citations, or contest the findings within that time frame.

“This incident and the needless death that resulted were preventable. Kevin Miranda’s employer was well aware of the necessary safety requirements, yet disregarded them,” said OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts, Kenneth Shedden. “Safety standards exist for a good reason: to prevent incidents such as this, and the deaths and injuries that can result. Employers must know and adhere to all applicable standards. The lives and well-being of their employees depend on it.”

Falls Are Number One Cause of Construction-Related Fatalities

According to OSHA, falls are the top cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Fatal falls are often the result of unstable working surfaces, and / or failure to use appropriate fall protection equipment. Both were factors in Miranda’s death. If the lift had been placed on stable ground and Miranda’s fall protection system had been properly attached to the operator’s basket or boom, he might still be alive today.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our worker’s comp attorneys have been protecting the rights of Massachusetts workers for more than 50 years. As the population of Boston and the surrounding areas continues to grow, so do construction projects. In recent years, this has led to an increase in construction-related accidents and injuries. Sometimes these injuries occur because of worker-error, but often they are caused by employer negligence or defective equipment. Workers’ comp is there to protect workers whether or not negligence played a role. However, if faulty equipment or negligence is a factor, an injured worker may be entitled to additional benefits for pain and suffering and medical expenses. Either way, the help of a skilled attorney is essential to a positive outcome. Although most work injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the process can be held up for numerous reasons, and many people miss out on benefits they’re entitled to because of application errors. The workers’ comp team at Altman & Altman, LLP will help you get the benefits you deserve in a timely, efficient manner so that you can get on with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

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