Bethany Village complies with OSHA after worker’s deadly fall

The owner of a Centerville nursing home where a telecommunications worker fell to his death has voluntarily complied with a federal agency’s safety recommendations, a U.S. Department of Labor spokesman said.

Graceworks Lutheran Services, which operates the Bethany Village complex, will likely avoid citations by abating the safety hazards identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the nursing home said.

MORE: OSHA investigates fatal fall at Centerville’s Bethany Village

Scott Allen, a labor department spokesman, said the agency has not yet closed the Graceworks case.

“Graceworks Lutheran Services has voluntarily accepted all of OSHA recommendations and are proceeding to implement those safety recommendations,” Allen said in an email.

Mark French, a 30-year veteran of P&R Communication, died Oct. 11 after he fell from the roof of a tower at the residential complex. Centerville police alerted OSHA to the 54-year-old Dayton man’s death, and the agency’s investigators were on scene within 45 minutes, OSHA officials said in October.

A Jan. 9 letter from OSHA’s Cincinnati office told Graceworks a December inspection of the complex at 6451 Far Hills Ave. disclosed two hazards. The letter said maintenance employees and sub-contractors “performing work and/or walking to gain access to work area on or near the edge of the low slope pitch roof without a fall protection system were exposed to trip and fall hazards.”

MORE: State agency investigates high-rise death

A spokeswoman for the nursing home said Graceworks “remains committed to employee safety.”

“We proactively take steps to reduce exposure to trip and fall hazards on our Bethany Village campus,” said spokeswoman Allyson Crawford in a statement. “Graceworks is fully collaborating with all authorities, including the Cincinnati OSHA Office, and has issued a timely response to the OSHA letter…”

“Preliminary indications are that the Graceworks response exceeded OSHA expectations and we do not expect OSHA to issue any citations,” she said.

Crawford did not elaborate on what part of the response exceeded the agency’s expectations, nor did she specify which other authorities are involved in the incident’s aftermath. Graceworks did not release a copy of its response to OSHA. The newspaper is working to obtain the letter from the labor department under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

An OSHA inspection involving P&R Communications was closed without citations, said OSHA spokesman Scott Allen. The company has not responded to the newspaper’s request for comment.

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