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OSHA Fines Georgia Plumbing Contractor $186,000 After Fatal Fall Down Manhole *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 01, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , , ,

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined a Georgia plumbing contractor more than $184,000 for failing to take safety measures to prevent a fatal fall last summer.

Robert Hall, a 34-year-old father of four, was asked to crawl into a manhole in Rome, Georgia in June. But the contractor, K&D Plumbing Inc., did not test the air inside the drain for deadly hydrogen sulfide gas, which caused Hall to be overcome and fall 20 feet to his death, OSHA said in a bulletin.

The level of the gas inside the drain structure was almost 100 times the permissible exposure level, the Rome Fire Department found after testing.

“K&D Plumbing’s failure to adhere to industry guidelines resulted in a preventable loss of life,” OSHA Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy said in a statement. “Implementing safety controls and training employees to recognize and avoid hazards is every employer’s responsibility.”

The contractor should have implemented a confined-space entry program, which would have included testing and ventilating the space, the safety agency said. OSHA also cited K&D for six serious violations for failing to provide ladders or other means of egress from the trench that workers were digging at Armuchee High School.

The employer also failed to inspect the trench and failed to make sure excavated soil and pipes were kept far enough away from the trench edge, OSHA said.

The company has 15 days to comply with the citation penalties, to request an informal conference or to contest the findings.

Georgia workers’ compensation law allows at least $7,500 in burial allowance and two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for his dependents. Benefits for the spouse end when the spouse dies or remarries, according to the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute.

Workers’ Compensation

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