Region 4 News Release: USDL: 00-152
Monday, August 28, 2000
Contact: Luis Santiago
PHONE: (912) 652-4393
CONTRACTORS FINED $101,000 FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD CONSTRUCTION SITE
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited two companies for safety violations on a construction site at the Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. OSHA fined general contractor, Metric Constructors, Inc. and subcontractor, Joseph Watson Masonry a total of $101,000 as a result of the citations.
According to Luis Santiago, OSHA's Savannah area director, both contractors were cited for hazards related to scaffold and fall protection standards.
OSHA proposed penalties of $56,000 against Joseph Watson, doing business as Joseph Watson Masonry, for one willful violation including failing to provide required fall protection and a safe means of access to and from scaffolding.
Another $20,000 in fines was proposed for three repeat violations, hazards for which the company had been previously cited. These addressed lack of support for scaffolding, failing to have a competent person supervising the erection and use of the scaffold, and lack of training on scaffolding hazards.
The remaining $6,000 penalty resulted from two serious violations dealing with wire rope fall protection deficiencies and lack of a safety and health program.
As the controlling employer, Metric Constructors was fined $19,000 for three serious violations. The serious citations included violations for unsafe access to and from scaffolding, failure to provide adequate guarding for fall protection on the scaffolding and failure to provide adequate perimeter guarding for fall protection on the building during construction.
"Despite numerous warnings of unsafe conditions from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, these contractors did little or nothing to correct hazards that could have caused serious injury or even death," said Santiago. "When a hazard is known, the employer has an obligation to correct it. Being proactive prior to an OSHA inspection can alleviate expensive penalties and, in the case of particularly dangerous industries like construction, can prevent accidents and save lives."
A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Metric Constructors, Inc., located in Marietta, Ga., is a subsidiary of J.A. Jones, Inc., which employs approximately 5,000 workers. Metric employs about 260 workers, nine of whom were assigned to construction of the new barracks complex at Hunter Army Airfield. Nineteen of Decatur, Ga.-based Joseph Watson Masonry's approximately 21 employees were working at the Savannah job site.
Both companies have 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J, Savannah, Ga. 31406-1418; telephone: (912) 652-4393.
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