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State investigates worksite death

The Baltimore Sun

A man who died after falling from scaffolding Tuesday was working for a company that has a history of helmet and safety violations, according to records.

Emilio Ernesto Herrera, 42, of Silver Spring was pronounced dead at a Harford County warehouse after authorities were called to the scene about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Herrera was working for a masonry company, building a cinder-block wall in an old appliance warehouse on Appliance Drive in Belcamp, said Sgt. Dave Betz, spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Herrera was standing on top of the scaffolding and moving to a different part of the wall when he fell 16 to 18 feet, Betz said.

Emergency personnel who had been at the scene said that Herrera had neither fall protection nor a helmet, said spokesman Rich Gardiner of the Harford County Emergency Operations Center.

Herrera was working for Carroll Masonry Inc., of Glyndon, according to the sheriff's office.

In 2005, Carroll Masonry was fined $7,400 for not having helmet protection, and for repeat violations of not having eye and face protection and sufficient fall protection on scaffolding, according to online records from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The repeat violations mean that the company had similar offenses in an inspection within the prior three years.

Scaffolding that is taller than 10 feet from the ground requires fall protection such as guard rails, harnesses or safety nets to protect workers, said Keith Owens, operations supervisor for Maryland Occupational Safety and Health.

In November 2007, Carroll Masonry was fined $6,400. The company incurred fines for not having head protection, for lack of safe access to scaffolding and for insufficient cross braces to keep the temporary framework straight, records show.

Telephone messages left with the company yesterday were not returned.

The investigation regarding Herrera has been turned over to the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health program, which investigates workplace deaths.

Rhonda Wardlaw, the agency's spokeswoman, said she could not comment on an open investigation.

A report will be submitted and the workplace could be fined if a violation is found, according to the agency.

Herrera is the state's 13th work-related fatality this year, Wardlaw said.

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