December 19th, 2006 05:56 EST
Fall Hazards at Newport, R.I., Jobsite Lead to $40,000 in Fines
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Miranda Construction, a Fall River, Mass., contractor faces $40,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for allegedly exposing employees to serious fall hazards at a Newport, R.I., residential construction site.
On Aug. 4, an OSHA inspector who was passing by the worksite at 3a Beacon Hill Rd., observed employees working on the building's roof without fall protection and immediately opened an inspection. The inspection verified that the two employees did not have personal fall arrest systems or an equivalent form of fall protection.
"Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry and fall protection is an essential safeguard," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's Rhode Island area director. "This employer knows that effective fall protection must be used whenever employees work six feet or higher, yet apparently chose to forego this common sense, life saving protection."
As a result, OSHA issued a willful citation, carrying a proposed $28,000 fine, for the lack of fall protection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Two repeat citations, with $8,000 in proposed fines, were issued for not developing and implementing a fall protection training program for employees and for lack of head protection for an employee working at ground level. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. In this case, Miranda Construction had previously been cited for similar hazards in 2005 at jobsites in Cranston, R.I., and North Dartmouth, Mass.
In addition, two serious citations, with $4,000 in proposed fines, were issued for a scaffold platform that extended too far over its end points and an extension ladder that was erected at an unsafe angle. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
In 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1,224 construction workers died on the job, with 36 percent of those fatalities resulting from falls. Detailed information on fall protection is available on OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Providence area office at (401) 528-4669.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
Region 1 News Release: 06-2034-BOS/BOS 2006-358
Monday, December 18, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074