Thurs., March 13, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald Dan Fuqua
Phone: 617-565-2074 404-562-2078
Company previously cited for similar hazards at Georgia, New Jersey and Missouri sites
BOSTON -- A nationwide outdoor advertising company with a history of fall protection violations faces a combined total of $54,500 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for similar hazards in Massachusetts and Georgia.
CBS Outdoor Inc. was cited for alleged repeat and serious violations of OSHA safety standards after inspectors observed CBS employees working without fall protection on billboards in Avondale Estates, Ga., and Braintree, Mass., in November 2007. OSHA found that the employees were exposed to potentially fatal falls of up to 22 feet.
"While the employees had fall protection equipment with them, it was either unused or used incorrectly, thereby leaving these employees one misstep away from death or disabling injuries," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "While it's fortunate that no falls have yet occurred, safety cannot ¿ and must never be ¿ simply a matter of luck."
"The same hazard recurring in multiple locations points to a systemic problem with the company's safety program that must be addressed before employees are hurt or killed," said Brenda Gordon, director of OSHA's Braintree Area Office. "CBS Outdoor must consistently and effectively monitor its jobsites to ensure that proper fall protection safeguards are in place and in use at all times."
The company was issued a repeat citation with a proposed fine of $25,000 for allowing employees to be exposed to fall hazards at the Massachusetts location. Another repeat fall protection citation, with a $25,000 proposed penalty, plus two serious citations, with $4,500 in proposed penalties, for ladder and electrical hazards were issued for the Georgia jobsite.
Repeat citations are issued when an employer previously has been cited for substantially similar hazards and those citations have become final. OSHA cited CBS Outdoor for fall protection hazards in 2006 and 2007 at worksites in Blue Springs, Mo., Hackensack, N.J., and Stone Mountain, Ga. OSHA defines a serious violation as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
CBS Outdoor 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 investigations were conducted by OSHA's Atlanta-East (telephone: 770-493-6644) and Braintree (telephone: 617-565-6924) area offices.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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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