Hotel accident should bring awareness

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 19, 2007

The headlines in a recent edition of The Democrat regarding the death of a construction worker due to a fall were a shock. My heart goes out to the family of this worker, as I feel this death was preventable.

The last 13 years I worked for IP Company at the Natchez mill were in the environmental, health and safety field. My duties included training all maintenance department employees, hourly and salaried, on the regulatory requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The interviews of witnesses to the accident, as presented in The Democrat, present serious questions regarding the contractors training of his employees.

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Was the operator of the lift truck involved trained by a certified instructor?

A work platform for use on a lift truck must comply with regulatory requirements. A wooden pallet does not meet these requirements.

Were the contractor’s employees trained on fall protection/prevention and the use of the equipment required?

Since the closure of the IP mill I have asked small contractors and employers with only a few employees about some of their work practices.

The general attitude seems to be that it is not illegal if they don’t get caught, or they have too few employees to come under OSHA standards.

They are wrong. My suggestion is that any employer with even one employee, go the Web site and read the CFR 1910 (general industry standards) and the CFR 1926 (construction standard) that apply to your business. Every employer should have a current copy of these regulations at their workplace.

The use of proper training, personal protective equipment, workplace audits and enforcement can eliminate work related injuries and possible financial ruin of your business. Safety training and related equipment does not cost, it pays.

D.W. Bryant

Natchez resident