PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Federal workplace safety inspectors have determined that two contractors are responsible for exposing workers to fall hazards, such as the fall that killed Scott W. Adams at the Mapleton foundry last December.

OSHA conducted an investigation into Adams’ death, and in doing so, learned that lead contractor Illinois Crane Inc. of Peoria asked Tegco Inc. to provide a bid in an electrical construction project. Tegco Inc. was doing business as Schaefer Electric of Peoria at the time.

While electrician Adams was evaluating the proposed work with the general foreman of Illinois Crane on Dec. 23, 2021, Adams fell 24 feet off a ladder and died.

OSHA cited Illinois Crane with a willful violation for failing to protect employees on walking/working surfaces more than 6 feet above the lower level from falling through holes. Because Illinois Crane was not found to ensure Adams’ safety in this situation, OSHA proposed penalties of $87,016.

OSHA also cited Schaefer Electric for a serious violation for failing to inspect job sites and inspect for hazards, as well as failing to train workers to recognize fall hazards or take appropriate safety precautions to minimize danger. For this citation, OSHA proposed penalties of $10,151.

“Our investigation found that the use of required fall protection could have prevented this tragedy,” explained OSHA Area Director Barry Salerno in Peoria. “Falls are one of the leading causes of serious injuries and deaths in the construction industry, and too often employees work at heights greater than 6 feet without fall safety equipment. Employers are legally obligated to follow safety standards and protect workers.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries that 24 workers in Illinois died as a result of falls, slips, and trips in 2020. A total of 135 worker deaths were reported in Illinois in 2020.

Both Illinois Crane and Schaefer Electric have 15 business days to comply with penalties or contest the findings.