Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-144
Thursday, October 12, 2000
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE: (617) 565-2075
WESTPORT, MASS., EMPLOYER CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL, REPEAT AND SERIOUS FALL PROTECTION SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT SOUTH WEYMOUTH, MASS., FIRE STATION PROJECT; $119,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Capeway Roofing Systems, Inc., of Westport, Massachusetts, for alleged WILLFUL, REPEAT, SERIOUS and other violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at a fire station construction project in South Weymouth, Mass., and has proposed penalties totaling $119,000 for the alleged violations.
According to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Boston and Southeastern Massachusetts, the alleged violations were uncovered during an OSHA inspection of the fire station construction project located at 246 Park Ave., South Weymouth, Mass. She noted that the inspection took place on April 24, 2000, and revealed that employees of Capeway Roofing Systems, who were constructing the roof of the station, were completely unprotected from falls of over 20 feet.
"This was a very hazardous work site situation," Gordon said, "created by an employer who is well aware of OSHA's fall protection safety standards, since this employer has been cited for similar violations before. It's unfortunate when any employer exposes employees to a hazardous workplace situation, but it's totally inexcusable when an employer fully aware of applicable safety requirements willfully does so. That's why we are citing Capeway Roofing Systems for alleged willful and repeat violations, as well as serious and other violations of OSHA's fall protection requirements."
Specifically, the company is being cited for:
One alleged WILLFUL violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $63,000, for: requiring employees to work on a steeply pitched roof between 21 to 26 feet above the ground with no fall protection;
Three alleged REPEAT violations, including proposed penalties totaling $44,000, for: failing to protect employees walking and working on low sloped roofs from falls ranging from over six feet to over 20 feet [the employer has been cited previously for similar violations three times]; creating over-head hazards and fall hazards by storing roofing materials and equipment within a few feet of roof edges [the employer was previously cited once for a similar violation]; and, failing to train employees to recognize the hazards of working on roofs and failing to train them in the use of fall protection systems [the employer has been cited once for similar violations].
Four alleged SERIOUS violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $12,000, for: failure to require employees to wear hard hats on a construction project; allowing employees to use a tubular welded frame scaffold 20 feet above the ground with no fall protection; ineffective use of a safety monitor; and, failure to provide a portable ladder which extended three feet above the landing surface and/or failure to provided a handhold device to assist employees in safely mounting and dismounting the ladder.
One other-than-serous violation with no proposed penalty for failure to replace personal fall arrest equipment with badly rusted hardware.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A repeat violation is defined by OSHA as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found.
A serious violation is defined as 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.
An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate impact on the safety and health of employees.
Gordon urged Boston and Southeastern Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Braintree. She added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which occur outside of normal business hours.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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