Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 1


May 13, 2024

 

US Department of Labor finds Watertown contractor did not provide required safeguards to prevent employee fatality in Brighton

OSHA cites OJR Construction Inc. for willfully exposing employees to fall hazards

 

BRAINTREE, MA – The U.S. Department of Labor has determined that a Watertown roofing contractor again violated federal regulations for fall protections, following a workplace safety investigation into how an employee suffered fatal injuries after falling about 27 feet as they tried to carry materials and climb a ladder jack scaffold at a Brighton work site in September 2023.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited OJR Construction Inc. in March 2017 and September 2019 for failing to protect employees from fall hazards by complying with required safety standards.

"Two previous OSHA inspections made it clear to OJR Construction what protections had to be in place to protect employees from potentially debilitating or deadly falls, but the company chose to ignore its responsibilities," said OSHA Area Director James Mulligan in Braintree, Massachusetts. "As a result, a worker died needlessly, leaving family, friends and co-workers to grieve their loss and the company to face the consequences."

OSHA inspectors found the company willfully exposed employees to fall hazards by not providing a safety net or personal fall arrest or guardrail systems, and by failing to have a program to train employees to recognize and address fall hazards. The agency's investigation also determined that the company exposed workers to falls and other hazards by not complying with OSHA regulations that required: 

  • Installing guard rails on scaffolds or determining the tipping weight of scaffold planks that extended more than 18 inches over a supporting surface, exposing employees to falls over 15 feet.
  • Guaranteeing ladder side rails extended at least 3 feet above the upper landing surface being accessed.
  • Ensuring the area below the scaffold and ladders within the pathway of vehicular traffic were barricaded to prevent fall and struck by hazards.
  • Having a competent person on site to ensure the use of fall protection.
  • Preventing debris from accumulating at the bottom of ladders to provide safe access to the worksite.
  • Providing and ensuring eye protection for employees using nail guns.

Following its investigation, the agency cited OJR Construction Inc. for one willful violation and 10 serious violations and assessed $88,721 in proposed penalties, an amount set by federal statute.

View the citations issued to OJR Construction Inc.

Based in Watertown, the company provides residential and commercial construction contracting services.

The employer has chosen to contest OSHA's citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1,069 construction workers died on the job. Of those deaths, 395 related to falls from elevations. OSHA's stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures

 

Media Contacts:

James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov
Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

Release Number:  24-603-BOS