Worker who fell 50 feet to his death was given inaccurate safety info, feds say

Years after a worker fell 50 feet to his death from the roof of a Missouri soybean storage tank, a construction contractor has been ordered to pay $370,000, federal authorities say.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Skinner Tank Co. did not require its workers to use fall protection, nor did they provide fall protection training. The construction contractor is now considered liable for the Oct. 14, 2019, death of a worker at a St. Joseph construction site, officials said.

The worker, identified in media reports as 56-year-old Tony Wilson, was on the roof of the tank when he fell more than 50 feet to the ground.

An inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed Skinner Tank Co. “provided inaccurate safety information to its employees by telling them that wearing fall protection actually presented a greater hazard than wearing it.”

Skinner, based out of Yale, Oklahoma, was issued a $370,680 fine and will avoid federal prosecution. The company could not be reached for comment by McClatchy News.

“The resolution of this case sends a strong message that OSHA will hold employers accountable for willful violations of federal safety regulations that seriously or fatally injure their workers,” OSHA Region Administrator Billie Kizer said. “Each year, too many workers lose their lives from falls — the leading cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry — because employers fail to provide fall protection.”

Wilson was married and had two children and seven grandchildren, according to an obituary.

“He was fearless when it came to new adventures and was always fun to be around,” the obituary states. “Most of all he was an excellent grandfather who loved spending time with his grandchildren and will be dearly missed.”

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