Region 1 News Release: 12-461-BOS/BOS 2012-041
March 19, 2012
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites New Hampshire contractor
following fatal fall at Keene Middle School work site
CONCORD, N.H. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited The MacMillin Co. Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards following the death of an employee on Sept. 16 at a Keene Middle School construction site. Temporary employees working under the direction of the Keene-based contractor were erecting scaffolding when the plank upon which the victim was working snapped, resulting in a 27-foot fatal fall to the concrete floor below.
An inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office found that the scaffold had not been inspected for defects, the employees had not been adequately trained in the erection and inspection of scaffolding, and the employer did not determine the feasibility of or ensure the use of fall protection for employees during the scaffold erection. These conditions resulted in citations for three willful violations. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Additionally, the scaffold planks could not support four times their maximum allowable load as required, all of the scaffold's supporting legs were not set on base plates, scaffold planks were covered with paint and the employees were not adequately supervised during the scaffold erection. These conditions resulted in citations for four serious violations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"Proper planning, inspection procedures, employee training and equipment could have prevented this incident and the worker's death that resulted," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "I strongly suggest that employers who use scaffolding make the time and effort to review their equipment, work practices and employee training, and take any necessary corrective steps to prevent future falls that can result in injuries and deaths."
Detailed information on scaffolding hazards and safeguards, including an interactive eTool, is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/construction.html.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/TheMacMillinCompanyInc.pdf*.
The MacMillin Co. Inc., which faces a total of $167,580 in proposed fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Concord office at 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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.