Region 1 News Release: BOS 2001-033
Monday, March 26, 2001
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
OSHA PROPOSES OVER $62,000 IN FINES AGAINST BOSTON-BASED CONTRACTOR FOR ALLEGED REPEAT SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING INSPECTION AT NEW BEDFORD, MASS., CONSTRUCTION SITE
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., of Boston, Mass., for alleged repeat violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an inspection at a New Bedford, Mass., worksite. Proposed fines against the construction contractor total $62,700.
The alleged violations were discovered during an inspection of a building renovation project at 182 Union Street for which Suffolk is the general contractor, according to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.
"The inspection found that workers were exposed to a number of safety hazards including potential falls from the second floor, tripping and fall hazards presented by uncleared piles of building and scrap materials, being struck by tools or other objects falling from unprotected upper work levels, and being impaled on unguarded steel rebar," said Gordon.
"Of particular concern is the fact that this contractor has been cited for similar hazards at other jobsites several times in the past two years," she said. "While no deaths or serious injuries resulted from these conditions, that is in spite of, not due to, an employer's repeated failure to ensure that these simple, vital and legally required safeguards are in place and in use."
Specifically, Suffolk Construction Co., Inc., faces $62,700 in fines for five alleged repeat violations for:
- two workers not using fall protection were exposed to falls of 15-feet,6-inches and 12-feet, 9-inches, respectively;
- workers exposed to tripping and falling injuries from piles of building materials, scrap material and lumber in work access areas;
- workers exposed to impalement hazards from unguarded reinforcing steel;
- workers exposed to injury from falling objects while working under and around floor openings which lacked toeboards;
- a discharged fire extinguisher had not been removed from service.
[Suffolk Construction Co., Inc., had previously been cited for violations of these safety standards in February 1999, March 1999, and February 2000, following inspections at different worksites in Boston, Mass.]
Gordon urged southeastern Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Braintree at 617-565-6924. OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar violation and that citation and its penalty have become final.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives OSHA the responsibility to issue standards that require employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.