Fatal Workplace Incident Leaves the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Association Facing $140,630 in Fines
Failure to provide proper safety training lands RSCVA in hot water
Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) employee Ryan Wilkinson, 43, who’s role was facilities audio-visual technician, was removing temporary electrical cable drops after a hot tub sale when he fell 34 feet to the concrete floor below.
According to investigators, Wilkinson left a catwalk, tried to access a steel structure 42 inches below and fell through drop ceiling tiles. Wilkinson was neither trained on fall protection nor how to properly use a scissor lift or boom lift, which was the RSCVA's standard procedure for installing and removing electrical cables. Although it is standard procedure to use scissor boom lifts for such work, the investigation found Wilkinson had not been trained in boom or scissor lift operation. Wilkinson was also not trained in fall prevention and was not wearing any fall protection gear when located on the floor. Further investigation showed that Wilkinson used the catwalk to do the cable drop, then when trying to access a steel structure 42 inches below the catwalk, he fell through drop ceiling tiles made of fiber board. Scuff marks were seen on a steel beam between the catwalk and ceiling tiles, investigators found.
His cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries due to a fall from height. Nevada OSHA found 10 serious violations and is proposing to fine the RSCVA $14,063 each for a total of $140,630. Two other-than-serious violations were also found. Unfortunately, the highest price paid was by Wilkinson, who lost his life for lack of safety training.