Region 1 News Release: 12-689-BOS/BOS 2012-062
April 20, 2012
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Connecticut contractor for willful
and serious safety violations in connection with fatal fall at Stamford work site
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Building LLC, a Trumbull-based steel erection contractor, for alleged violations - one willful and one serious - of workplace safety standards following the Oct. 25, 2011, death of a worker at a site in Stamford. American Building employees were installing metal roofing onto a prefabricated steel building at the former Clairol campus at 1 Blachley Road when one of the workers fell 35 feet to the ground and sustained fatal injuries.
An investigation by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office found that employees lacked proper fall protection and were not adequately trained to recognize and avoid fall hazards. The safety harnesses of three of the four employees working on the roof, including the victim, were not tied off to anchorage points to prevent falls, and the fourth employee's safety lanyard was too long to protect him against a fall.
"Inadequate and ineffective fall protection can be as dangerous and deadly as no fall protection at all," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "This employer was well aware that these workers were exposed to falls but did not take steps to eliminate a significant hazard. A combination of proper fall protection and effective training could have prevented this needless loss of life."
As a result of its inspection, OSHA has cited American Building with one willful violation for the lack of fall protection and one serious violation for the lack of training. 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. 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.
American Building, which faces a total of $51,700 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 Bridgeport office at 203-579-5581.
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.