Worker Injured After Being Denied Safety Equipment

July 22, 2015

Despite his request for a safety harness, a temporary worker fell 12 feet through a roof without any fall protection. His fall resulted in hospitalization for fractured arms and severe contusions.

The employer, Cotton Commercial USA Inc. in Katy, Texas, waited three days to report the injury, an OSHA investigation found. Federal law requires employers to report such incidents within 24 hours.

OSHA fined the employer, Cotton Commercial, $362,500 for seven safety violations, including one willful and four willful egregious.

The violations include failing to provide fall protection for four workers, failure to promptly report the hospitalization of an employee resulting from a workplace incident, and not training employees in the use of fall protection and ladders. 

Gardia Construction, which provided the laborers to Cotton Commercial, received a citation for one serious violation and a fine of $4,900, for failing to conduct frequent and regular inspections of the job site where its laborers worked.

“Cotton Commercial was well aware of how to prevent safety hazard and, in fact, on the following day Cotton made sure all workers were provided with the required safety equipment. It shouldn’t have to take a serious injury for a company to comply with the law,” said OSHA Regional Administrator John Hermanson.

Cotton Commercial employs about 227 workers and operates throughout the U.S. The company provides remediation services for commercial and residential structures damaged from disasters. Gardia Construction, located in Gretna, La., employs about 80 workers and provides labor to Cotton Commercial. Gardia does not carry workers compensation insurance.