This year, Friday the 13th was not only unlucky, but sadly tragic for a Fairmont man and his family. A fall resulting in the man's death occurred at about 12:30 p.m. in Fairmont, WV when he fell through a skylight in a storage building near Speedway Avenue, according to the Fairmont Fire Department and Marion County Rescue Squad.
Chief Jim Emerick said the Fairmont man fell through a skylight in a storage building he owned, and while attempting to replace the skylight, fell approximately 15 feet and died as a result of the impact to his head. Fairmont police said OSHA investigated what they called a "workplace accident." After the investigation was complete, no citations were issued.
While the facts of every workplace injury vary, when it comes to fatalities caused by falls from heights, such as falling through a sunlight or other roof opening, there are several factors to look for to determine if the employer exposed the worker to an unsafe condition.
OSHA requires special protection for workers who are working at heights, such as roofs. The employer is required to provide safety barriers around openings and edges. In certain situations, the employer is supposed to provide safety harnesses and tie off lines to protect workers from falls. OSHA refers to this category of safety as Fall Protection.
In all worker fatalities, OSHA is required to conduct a very basic investigation to determine if the employer violated any safety requirements. However, OSHA inspectors are not privy to all the relevant facts, nor are they experts in legal rights of injured workers and their families.
So, even if an employer is not cited by OSHA, that is not to say that the employer is innocent of any wrongdoing. That is why injury victims and their families should contact a skilled work injury lawyer to discuss their case.
Robinette Legal Group has handled dozens of serious injury and fatality claims caused by work injuries. We provide free consultations and contingency fee agreements.
Source: WBOY, "Fairmont man dead after falling 15 feet through roof," March 13, 2015.