Wed., Jan. 9, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
CONCORD, N.H. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed fines of $84,200 against a Marlborough, N.H., farm where a wall collapse resulted in the death of a 17-year-old employee in early July, 2007. Mary Corbett, doing business as Corbett Creek Farm, was cited for alleged willful, serious and "other-than-serious" violations of safety standards following an OSHA inspection begun July 4.
The teenager was killed when a fractured and leaning concrete and fieldstone wall fell on him while he was performing demolition work inside the barn. OSHA's inspection found that he and other employees were assigned to work within the wall's collapse zone, even though the wall presented a clearly recognized hazard. As a result, OSHA issued Corbett one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $63,000, for this hazard. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
"This case is a graphic example of what can and unfortunately does happen when basic, required and commonsense employee safeguards are ignored," said Francis Pagliuca, OSHA's acting area director in Concord. "In addition to the fatal crushing hazard posed by the damaged wall, the individuals working in and on this barn were exposed to fall, electrical and chemical hazards. None of the required safeguards are unusual yet they were not provided."
OSHA also issued Corbett four serious citations for lack of fall protection for employees painting the barn's roof; ungrounded electrical equipment and wiring; lack of eye and head protection for employees using saws to cut metal and wood framing; and lack of chemical hazard information and training for employees performing painting. Proposed fines total $16,200. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Finally, Corbett was issued an additional other-than-serious citation, with a $5,000 proposed fine, for not informing OSHA of the employee's death within eight hours, as required. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have an immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
Corbett has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Concord area office (telephone 603-225-1629).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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