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Death of Visitor Results in $100,000 Fine for Self-Storage Facility

A self-storage facility renovated an old missile site into storage units. At the back of one unit, an opening was left in the floor, measuring about four feet by nine feet, nine inches. It was framed in anticipation of adding stairs to the basement in the future. But the hole wasn’t protected by any covering or guardrail. A visitor came to the unit to examine a truck that was being stored there by the person renting the unit. As the visitor bent down to examine the truck’s rear wheel, he fell into the open hole about six feet to the concrete floor below and died from his injuries. The storage company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a hole in the floor of a storage unit was protected by a guardrail or floor covering. The court fined it $100,000 [Seavale Inc., Govt. News Release, Jan. 29, 2016].