Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 02-131
Tues., June 25, 2002
Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (404) 562-2076
Florida Contractors Fail to Protect Workers Against Falls,
Bringing Over $80,000 in Proposed OSHA Penalties
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Failing to protect workers from fall hazards at a Jacksonville condominium construction site has resulted in proposed penalties totaling $81,500 for two Florida contractors, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
After observing employees working on a roof without adequate fall protection, the agency began an inspection in January under provisions of the CARE program. The Construction Accident Reduction Emphasis program is a statewide effort to reduce the high number of accidents and fatalities at Florida construction sites.
"In Florida, falls accounted for 23 of the 43 construction-related deaths investigated by OSHA between Oct. 1, 2001 and May 31, 2002," James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director, said. "If employers had followed the minimum standards, most of these deaths could have been prevented,"
OSHA issued two willful citations to New Smyrna Beach-based Leveltech, Inc., for allowing employees to work from an aerial lift bucket and on a roof without proper fall protection equipment. The company also received two serious citations for allowing employees to work without hard hats and from an aerial bucket's mid-rail. Proposed penalties for the alleged violations total $73,500.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations and a serious violation as one where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Two serious citations were issued to Stevens Masonry and Concrete, Inc. for alleged scaffolding and fall protection violations. The St. Augustine-based company also received a repeat citation for failing to have a competent person supervise and direct the construction of the scaffold. Proposed fines total $8,000.
OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited within the past three years for a similar violation and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Each company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the work site was conducted by OSHA's Jacksonville area office located at 1851 Executive Center Dr., Suite 227; telephone: (904) 232-2895.