Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 02-112
Fri., May 31, 2002
Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (404) 562-2076
OSHA Cites Three Atlanta-area Contractors for Lack of Fall
Protection; Proposes $111,750 in Penalties
ATLANTA -- Failing to protect workers from fall hazards at Cobb County's Mable House Amphitheater construction site has resulted in $111,750 in proposed penalties for three Atlanta-area contractors, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
OSHA first inspected the job site on Nov. 30, 2001. Subsequent inspections were conducted Feb. 5, Feb. 27 and March 6, after the agency continued to receive complaints about unsafe working conditions.
During each of the inspections, OSHA observed Hoschton-based Southern Steel employees, at heights varying from 40 to 58 feet, installing and welding steel, working from elevated aerial baskets and climbing up and down steel columns without proper fall protection equipment. The agency issued three alleged willful citations, with proposed penalties of $98,000. Willful violations are defined as those committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirement of the OSH Act and regulations.
"Four of the nine worker deaths investigated by our office since Oct. 1, involved falls," said Susan Johnston, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "Nationwide, one-third of the agency's fatality investigations involved falls. "To help prevent these fatalities, we've initiated a program to inspect job sites where we see or are notified that fall hazards exists"
OSHA's revised steel erection fall protection standard is now in effect," Johnston added. "With only a few exceptions, fall protection must be provided for steel erectors at 15 feet, rather than 25.
Southern Steel also received two alleged serious citations with $2,250 in proposed penalties for using improper ladders and allowing employees to climb from elevated aerial baskets to steel structures without proper fall protection.
The general contractor, Buford-based Ricks Contracting, Inc., received four alleged serious citations with proposed penalties of $10,000 for allowing the unsafe conditions to exist. As the controlling contractor the company is responsible for assuring a safe workplace.
OSHA issued one alleged serious citation with a $1,500 proposed penalty to Riverdale-based McKnight Roofing, Inc., for allowing employees to install roofing without fall protection. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The three companies have 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspections were conducted by the Atlanta-West OSHA area office located at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga.; phone: (770) 984-8700.