Region 2 News Release: NY 105
January 9, 2001
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
CONTRACTORS CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS ON BRICK REPOINTING PROJECT AT SUNY BUFFALO IN AMHERST; WORKERS WERE EXPOSED TO SILICA AND OTHER HAZARDS PROPOSED PENALTIES TOTAL $176,620
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a West Seneca, New York, contractor and four subcontractors involved in restoration of dormitories on the Amherst campus of SUNY Buffalo, and proposed penalties of $176,620 for three alleged willful violations and 29 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The companies have until January 25th to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David E. Boyce, the action results from an investigation conducted from July 3, 2000 to January 2, 2001 following a complaint of unsafe conditions at the worksite, the Ellicot Complex on the SUNY Buffalo Amherst Campus. The general contractor, Allstate Development, Inc -- Progressive Weatherproofing Joint Venture, West Seneca, New York, and four subcontractors were engaged in re-pointing the brick exterior and working from improperly erected scaffolding that was enclosed in plastic sheeting. "The enclosure had the effect of increasing the concentration of silica dust which was released by the brick grinding," Boyce said.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's respiratory protection standard by failure to conduct medical evaluations on employees wearing respirators, failure to perform respirator fit testing, and failure to train employees in respirator use. The alleged willful violations carry a proposed penalty of $132,000.
The alleged serious violations for which the Allstate-Progressive joint venture was cited included:
- failure to provide appropriate respirators, issuing incorrect respirators;
- exposing employees to airborne levels of silica four to 21 times higher than the permissible exposure limit;
- failure to provide appropriate protective personal equipment to employees using corrosive chemicals;
- failure to provide training on the hazards associated with the chemicals in use;
- failure to inform employees of the availability of exposure records and their right of access to them;
- permitting scaffold to be installed more than 14 inches from the face of the building;
- failure to provide guardrails on scaffolds;
- failure to provide safe access to all levels of the scaffold;
- permitting scaffold sections to be moved by persons not qualified to do so;
- failure to barricade scaffold areas where overhead hazards existed.
The alleged serious violations by the prime contractor carry a total proposed penalty of $14,000. The firm was also cited for failure to inspect scaffolds daily and failure to maintain the required log of injuries and illnesses, two alleged other-than-serious violations.
OSHA citations issued to the subcontractors included the following:
HIPPWrap Containment, 4070 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego, California:
- failure to provide full decking on all scaffold levels;
- failure to provide safe access on scaffolds;
- failure to provide fall protection on scaffolds;
- failure to have scaffolds moved by competent persons;
- failure to train employees in the hazards of working from scaffolds;
- failure to provide fire extinguishers on site. The six alleged serious violations carry a proposed penalty of $8,250. The firm was also cited failure to maintain the required log of injuries and illnesses, an alleged other-than-serious violation.
Arric Corporation, 5033 Transit Road, DePew, New York:
- failure to evaluate respiratory hazards at the site;
- failure to keep site free from debris. The two alleged serious violations carry a proposed penalty of $3,250.
CME Associates, 810 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda, New York:
- failure to keep worksite free from debris. The alleged serious violation carries a proposed penalty of $1,750.
Safespan Platform Systems, 252 Filmore Avenue, Tonawanda, New York:
- failure to keep scaffold within 14 inches of the building, an alleged serious violation with a proposed penalty of $1,500. The firm was also cited for failure to complete the required log of injuries and illnesses, an alleged repeat other-than-serious violation with a penalty of $120.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo area office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, New York, telephone (716) 684-3891.