OSHA fines New Jersey masonry contractor
Contractor fined nearly $91,000 for fall, scaffold hazards
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited South River-based Mr. Concrete Corp. with four repeat and five serious safety violations, including scaffold and fall hazards, found at a Maywood work site. OSHA's February inspection was initiated in response to imminent fall hazards observed by an OSHA compliance officer.
The repeat violations, with $69,300 in fines, involve exposure to fall hazards of approximately 20 feet while working from a scaffold lacking a fall protection system; workers on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level while not protected from falling to that lower level; tubular welded frames and panels not properly braced; no limited access zone established during masonry wall construction; and lack of appropriate ladders, stair towers, walkways or access to scaffold platforms more than 2 feet above or below a point of access. The same violations were cited in 2010. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The serious violations, with a $20,790 penalty, involve failing to guard the point of operation of a mortar mixer, ensure electrical equipment was properly grounded, ensure makeshift devices were not used to increase scaffold height, and to properly install toeboards on the scaffold edge. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
"The company must correct its continued disregard for protecting workers from fall and scaffold hazards and failure to comply with OSHA safety standards," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Implementing basic, common-sense and legally required fall protection safeguards can save lives."
OSHA has created a fall prevention Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
More information on scaffolding safeguards can be found at www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/#recognition.
Mr. Concrete Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Hasbrouck Heights, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office at 201-288-1700.
About the Author
Joanna Hawkins is a Deputy Regional Director at the U.S. Department of Labor.