Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 02- 37
Thurs., March 14, 2002
Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (404) 562-2076
OSHA Cites Statesboro Mall Sub-Contractor;
Proposes Over $126,000 in Penalties
STATESBORO, Ga. -- Exposing employees to serious fall hazards may cost Augusta, Ga.-based Rhodes Construction Company $126,720 in proposed penalties according to citations issued yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The agency inspected the Statesboro Mall construction site on Sept. 19 after receiving an anonymous complaint about the condition of scaffolding erected by Rhodes, a sub-contractor on the job. The site was inspected a second time on Oct. 15 after Rhodes employees were observed working at the edge of a 24-foot-high roof without fall protection.
Prior to the first OSHA inspection, the general contractor requested that Rhodes install missing planks and guardrails on an 18-foot-high, third-level scaffolding platform and provide workers with a ladder to access the area. The sub-contractor failed to comply.
During the Sept. 19 inspection, OSHA found that Rhodes employees continued to work from unsafe scaffolding. The agency issued three citations for willful violations of scaffolding standards and proposed penalties totaling $117,000.
"Falls are a leading cause of death and serious injuries for construction workers," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's Savannah area director. "This employer put workers at risk by choosing to disregard the general contractor's warnings, workers' concerns and its own safety manual."
Harrison added that OSHA's fall protection program has a strong enforcement component but also provides compliance assistance, without fear of enforcement action, for employers who seek help in providing a safe work environment.
OSHA's first inspection also resulted in two serious citations with proposed penalties of $3,000 for scaffolding that was not properly anchored to prevent it from tipping over, and two repeat citations with proposed penalties of $2,520 for allowing employees to work on scaffolding without hardhats and for scaffolding without cross bracing.
The Oct. 15 inspection resulted in one serious citation with a $4,200 proposed penalty for allowing employees to work near a roof edge without fall protection.
The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Both inspections were conducted by staff from the Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J; telephone: (912) 652-4393.