May 1, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Potentially fatal 18- and 27-foot falls at a Norwich, Conn., residential construction site have led to $120,500 in proposed fines for a Newark, N.J.-based residential framing contractor. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited New Place Carpentry for 15 alleged violations of safety standards following an inspection begun Oct. 31, 2006.
Upon arriving at the South Thames Street worksite, OSHA inspectors observed New Place Carpentry employees working without required fall protection, including one employee exposed to a 27-foot fall. The inspection also found employees exposed to 18-foot falls from ladders of insufficient height.
This inspection resulted in New Place Carpentry being issued two repeat citations, with $80,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited for similar hazards in the past. In 2004 and 2005, New Place Carpentry was cited for similar hazards at worksites in North Haven and Milford, Conn.
"Falls are the number one killer in construction," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Effective fall protection is absolutely essential for protecting employees against death or disabling injuries. There is no good reason for this contractor's failure to provide fall protection."
Other fall hazards found at the jobsite included a defective stepladder, a wooden pallet used instead of a ladder to access a work area, lack of inspection of ladders for defects, missing handrails and not training employees to recognize fall hazards. The inspection also identified a damaged lifting sling; lack of head, hand and eye protection; ungrounded electrical cords and receptacles; absence of fire extinguishers and lack of hazard communication training. Additionally, the jobsite was littered with scrap lumber with protruding nails.
These conditions resulted in the issuance of 13 serious citations, carrying $40,500 in proposed fines. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
New Place Carpentry has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations 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 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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