Local News

April 14, 2014

OSHA investigating death at Shaw (Updated 5:50 p.m.)

An investigation is underway into how a roofing contractor at a Shaw Industries plant died Saturday morning after injuries sustained from a 30-foot fall, officials said.

Dalton Fire Department Deputy Chief Gary Baggett said the 48-year-old man was apparently working on the roof at the Shaw WD plant at 2305 Abutment Road when he fell around 9 a.m. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating whether any safety standards were violated, but a spokesman released only limited details Monday.

“They found him conscious but confused and (he) had severe trauma to his head,” Baggett said. “Our guys (from the fire department) immediately started giving aid to him and started trying to stabilize him prior to EMS arriving.”

Baggett said dispatchers tried to get Life Force, a helicopter ambulance for Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, but the chopper was unable to fly out because of fog. The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was taken to Hamilton Medical Center but went into cardiac arrest and died as the ambulance was arriving, Baggett said.

OSHA spokesman Michael D’Aquino said the man worked for Porter Roofing Contractors Inc., which is based in McMinnville, Tenn. A message left for company officials Monday wasn’t immediately returned.

Records show Porter Roofing was fined $1,315 in 2011 and $1,750 in 2012 for failure to meet standards for fall protection. In 2009, the company was fined $4,500 and later $9,000 for not meeting fall protection standards.

Information on exactly how the man on Saturday fell through the roof and whether he was wearing safety gear at the time of the fall wasn’t immediately clear.

Shaw spokeswoman Susan Rich said she had only limited information about the incident. She issued a written statement saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers” of the man.

“OSHA has been on site, and an investigation is underway,” Rich said. “The plant is currently operating.”

Shaw’s Plant WD manufactures carpet for residences.

D’Aquino said OSHA plans a national “stand-down” June 2-6 aimed at raising awareness on how to prevent falls in construction. The event is voluntary and encourages employers to talk with their employees about safety and fall prevention.

“OSHA’s fall prevention campaign provides employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs,” D’Aquino said.


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