Region 1 News Release: 11-639-BOS/BOS 2011-171
May 10, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Shelton, Conn., contractor for
repeat and serious violations; proposes more than $139,000 in penalties
Total Remodeling Services exposed employees to falls of up to 33 feet at Bridgeport site
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Total Remodeling Services LLC for 16 alleged violations of workplace safety standards following OSHA's inspection of a residential roofing site in Bridgeport. The Shelton contractor faces a total of $139,260 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall, scaffolding and ladder hazards at the 226-228 Oak St. work site.
"The sizable fines proposed here reflect both the gravity of these hazards and the recurring nature of several of them," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "Falls are the leading killer in construction work, and can happen swiftly and without warning. For the safety of its workers, the employer must ensure that effective safeguards are in place on all job sites at all times."
OSHA found employees exposed to falls ranging from 20 to 33 feet while working on the building's roof, a roof bracket scaffold, a ladderjack scaffold and ladders. Specifically, employees on the roof and roof bracket scaffold lacked fall protection and were not trained to recognize and address fall hazards. A 32-foot extension ladder was damaged, set up improperly, unsecured against displacement and had not been inspected by a competent person prior to use. In addition, workers were observed carrying bundles of shingles and other materials onto the scaffolds, which could have caused them to lose their balance and fall, and they were not trained in ladder hazards and safeguards. OSHA had cited Total Remodeling Services in 2009 and 2010 for similar hazards at worksites in Bridgeport and Milford. As a result of these latest conditions, seven repeat violations were cited with $102,300 in proposed fines.
The Bridgeport inspection identified additional hazards, including a lack of fall protection and training for employees working on the ladderjack scaffold, no safe and adequate means to access the scaffolds, an unsecured access ladder set up on a pile of debris, unsecured ladders used as part of the ladderjack scaffold and failure to keep the work area free of construction debris. These conditions resulted in nine serious violations cited with $36,960 in fines.
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. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Detailed information on hazards and safeguards associated with falls and work on scaffolds is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html#construction and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.
The employer 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. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office; telephone 203-579-5581. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.