CLEVELAND, Ohio (WTRF)– – A 51-year-old painting contractor at a residential apartment complex in Cleveland has died.
The man, yet to be identified, stepped onto a third-floor balcony when it tilted suddenly, causing him to fall 21 feet onto the concrete below. As he lay on the concrete, the balcony slid off of its wall mount and landed on top of him. His injuries were not life sustainable.
During the investigation of the incident, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration determined the balcony was unsecured and discovered that the worksite’s general contractor, Geis COnstruction of Streetsboro, nor J.C. Jones Corp. of Pennsylvania- the subcontractor hired to install the balcony- had placed a required warning sign to alert workers of the imminent dangers and did not assess whether the balcony’s structural integrity and strength could support employees safely.
OSHA also found the unsecured balcony platform was unfastened and floated on wall mounts freely.
“Hazard warning signs must be displayed and balconies, exits, and high-level platforms must be blocked when practical during construction to prevent anyone from using them and falling from heights or into active construction zones,” explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “When multiple employers have workers onsite, the general contractor is responsible for making sure that all companies on the project work safely and follow federal and industry-recognized standards to protect employees.
OSHA issued a citation to Geis Construction for one willful violation and one serious violation and proposed $154,696 in penalties. J.C. Jones Corp. received a citation for one willful and one serious violation with proposed penalties of $31,252.
Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.