Region 1 News Release: 09-334-BOS.BOS 2009-091
Mon., April 6, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Fall and drowning hazards prompt more than $180,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for Southington, Conn., contractor
HARTFORD, Conn. - The contractor rebuilding a bridge over the Housatonic River in the Falls Village section of Canaan, Conn., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 13 alleged willful and serious violations of construction safety standards.
The Brunalli Construction Co. of Southington, Conn., faces $180,950 in proposed fines for allegedly failing to protect its employees against fall, drowning and other hazards at the Route 7 jobsite.
A December 2008 OSHA inspection found employees exposed to falls of up to 43 feet into the river while working without fall protection on unprotected or inadequately guarded sections of the bridge and using an access ladder of inadequate height. They also were exposed to drowning hazards due to the lack of life jackets, ring buoys and a lifesaving skiff that are required to be used and readily available on site when employees work over water.
"The significant hazard of a four-story plunge was exacerbated by the lack of required lifesaving rescue equipment," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "While it's fortunate no fall or drowning occurred, the potential for a fatal or serious accident was real and present at this jobsite."
As a result, OSHA issued Brunalli Construction three willful citations, with $147,000 in proposed fines, for the fall, drowning and ladder hazards and 10 serious citations, with $33,950 in proposed fines, for additional fall-related hazards, puncture and laceration hazards from a damaged cable guardrail system, no hardhats for employees exposed to overhead hazards, amputation and laceration hazards from unguarded grinders, and no trained emergency responders on site.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
Brunalli Construction has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office, telephone 860-240-3152.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.