Tumwater – An Oregon construction company is facing a substantial fine for workplace safety violations after a worker fell nearly 20 feet from a house under construction in north Clark County. Rodrigo Baltazar-Martinez died in the hospital from injuries associated with the April 2017 fall.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently cited Sayde Construction, Inc., for seven violations, with penalties totaling $115,740.
So far this year, seven construction workers in Washington have fallen to their deaths. The most recent was in September, when a worker in Moses Lake fell through an unguarded skylight.
Anne Soiza, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health said, “We’re seeing a continuing pattern of these uncontrolled risks in the construction industry, and as a result, there’s been a significant number of deaths and severe injuries. The death of this Sayde Construction worker could have been prevented if the employer had made certain that workers were using appropriate fall protection.”
The Sayde investigation began on April 28 after L&I was notified that Baltazar-Martinez had fallen from a second story while installing roof trusses at the Bella Noche subdivision in Ridgefield. L&I’s six-month investigation found two willful violations, the most serious; both were related to fall protection.
One of the willful violations, with a penalty of $63,000, was for failure to ensure that workers were provided with and used appropriate fall protection. The second willful violation was cited because the company didn’t have a written fall protection work plan that addressed each area of the worksite where employees were exposed to potentially deadly falls. That violation came with a $27,000 fine.
The company was also cited for not ensuring it had an effective accident prevention program in place. That “serious” violation included a $2,700 penalty. In addition to the willful and serious violations, the employer was fined $23,040 for not correcting a general violation it was cited for in January for not having someone with a valid first-aid certificate at the worksite.
L&I cited the company for three additional general safety violations that did not include a financial penalty but must be corrected.
As a result of the willful violations that contributed to the death of a worker, Sayde Construction has been placed on the severe violator list and is subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist in the future.
The company has 15 business days to appeal the citation.