May 12, 2015BOS 2015-102
Roofing workers spotted in 'clear-and-present danger' by
OSHA inspectors as they drive by North Smithfield, Rhode Island, job site
Brockton, Massachusetts, contractor has history of similar violations, faces $72,800 in fines
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration were headed back to their Providence office on Jan. 22, 2015, after completing one site inspection when they saw a dangerous situation in clear view at another site in North Smithfield.
Two men working for Ivan Paredes, a Brockton, Massachusetts, roofing contractor, were on a ladder-jack scaffold without guardrails, and with no protective gear to keep them from falling 16 feet to the ground. The two federal inspectors immediately pulled over, ordered the employees off the scaffold and began an inspection.
"This was a clear-and-present danger. These employees could have fallen at any time and been killed or disabled. Ivan Paredes knew of this hazard, but chose to ignore it and his legal responsibility to protect his employees," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's area director for Rhode Island.
Paredes' failure to provide and ensure the use of fall protection led OSHA to cite the contractor for a willful violation of worker safety standards. He now faces a $70,000 fine, the maximum allowed under the law. Paredes was also cited for a serious violation, with a fine of $2,800, for an additional hazard for not having his employees use an access ladder to reach the scaffold's work platform safely. The violations followed the inspection at 1 Eddie Dowling Highway. The proposed fines total $72,800.
OSHA has cited Paredes, who also operates as Lincoln Construction, for fall-related hazards seven times since October 2010, at work sites in East Greenwich, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Providence.
"Fortunately, most employers know and obey the law. Many of them will show their commitment to worker safety during the National Safety Stand-Down from May 4-15. We encourage Rhode Island employers to join others across the country in this voluntary, but vital effort. A modest investment of time and resources could prevent a needless tragedy," said Griffin.
Companies that conduct a Safety Stand-Down take a break to have a toolbox talk or other safety activity, such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing job hazards. Managers are encouraged to hold a stand-down event or events that work best in their workplace during the nationwide effort May 4-15.
Paredes has 15 business days from receipt of the 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 Providence Area Office at 401-528-4667.
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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Release Number: 15-712-BOS
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