OSHA Investigates After Contractor Falls from Elevated Walkway at Corrigan OSB, L.L.C. Plant in Texas

On September 27, 2023, a contract fell from an overhead walkway at the Corrigan OSB, L.L.C. plant in Corrigan, Texas. The contractor died before the Sheriff’s Office or Emergency Personnel reached the scene. At the present time, the exact cause of the fall has not been determined. The worker was transferred to Jefferson County Medical Examiner for an autopsy. OSHA was notified and an investigation is underway.

Inadequate Fall Protection

OSHA has very strict rules related to working from heights that cover accidents involving overhead walkways. They are required to have protective rails and be properly secured. They are also required to provide fall protection to prevent accidents due to inadequate fall protection from occurring. The fact that this individual fell is a sure sign that some rule was not followed.  OSHA regulations are not laws per se, but they are indicative of the industry standard for purposes of civil liability.

individual filing out a work injury claim formWhen Does OSHA Investigate Workplace Accidents?

OSHA prioritizes for investigation any reports of incidents where workers face a risk of immediate death or serious injury. OSHA next investigates all workplace fatalities and catastrophic incidents where three or more employees must be hospitalized. Employee complaints of OSHA violations take the next priority. If they are requesting an inspection, they must file a written request. OSHA then evaluates the request to determine whether an inspection is warranted.

If I File a Complaint Against My Employer Will OSHA Tell Them Who Filed It?

No. Persons making complaints to OSHA are kept anonymous.

What Determines Whether OSHA Conducts an Onsite Inspection After an Employee Requests One?

OSHA may decide to do an inspection for several reasons. The most likely is that OSHA determines that a violation or danger likely exists that threatens physical harm or that an imminent danger to others. Other factors that may result in an inspection immediately include: whether the company is in a high-risk industry or OSHA program or involves a specific hazard targeted by an OSHA program, if it comes from a whistleblower, the facility is already scheduled for inspection gets a complaint, the company/employer has a history of violations or they have failed to respond to OSHA inquests/requests.

Does an Employer Have to Report a Workplace Injury to OSHA?

Employers are not required to report every on-the-job accident to OSHA. Employers are required to report fatalities and catastrophic injury events where three or more persons are hospitalized within 8 hours of the incident. OSHA requires employers to investigate their own accidents and prepare certain documentation.

How Long Does OSHA Take to Investigate Workplace Fatalities?

OSHA may take up to six months to complete its investigation of a workplace fatality. It will not necessarily take that amount of time, but OSHA can take time to complete a thorough investigation.

Talk to a Lawyer

When someone is seriously injured or killed on the job, it is wise to discuss the incident with an experienced Houston fall protection lawyer. In some of these cases, the Worker’s Compensation Statute will prohibit direct action against the employer. However, this is not always the case, especially in the case of contractors injured or killed at someone else’s location. The incident should also be reported to OSHA if it involves a fatality, three or more hospitalizations, or there is an ongoing violation or imminent danger that poses a threat of further injury to other workers. Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers have been representing people injured in workplace accidents due to their employer’s negligence and the negligence of others since 1979. When you do not have worker’s compensation to cover you, talk to Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. to determine your legal rights. Call 800-298-0111 for a free consultation.




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