Region 1 News Release: 11-1565-BOS/BOS 2011-368
Nov. 1, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Fall hazards of up to 57 feet at Portsmouth, NH, work site lead to $180,100 in
US Labor Department proposed fines for Everett, Mass., framing contractor
CONCORD, N.H. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Twin Pines Construction Inc./Teles Construction Inc. for alleged repeat, serious and other-than-serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of a Portsmouth work site. The Everett, Mass., framing contractor faces a total of $180,100 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall, scaffolding and electrical hazards.
The inspection was opened after an OSHA inspector observed an employee working without fall protection at the fifth-floor level of a building under construction at 51 Islington St. The inspection found a lack of fall protection for employees working on scaffolding and work surfaces at heights of up to 57 feet. An additional fall hazard stemmed from the use of a 6-foot ladder to access a 10-foot-high surface. Employees also were exposed to electric shocks and burns from using ungrounded electrical extension cords.
Between 2008 and 2010, Twin Pines/Teles was cited for similar hazards at work sites in Scarborough, Maine; Newbury and Salisbury, Mass.; and North Kingstown and South Kingstown, R.I. As a result of this history, OSHA issued citations for four repeat violations with $130,500 in proposed penalties.
"The sizable fines proposed here reflect both the gravity of these hazards and this employer's significant and continuing history of safety violations," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "Each time it allows these hazards to recur, it exposes employees to the risk of death or disabling injuries."
Additionally, eight serious violations with $46,300 in fines involved improperly erected scaffolding; no inspection by a competent person with the knowledge and authority to identify and correct scaffolding hazards; uncovered floor holes; failure to keep the fifth-floor work area, as well as areas around the top and bottom of ladders, free of construction debris; and lack of eye protection for employees using nail guns. 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.
Finally, three other-than-serious violations with $3,300 in fines were cited for not providing injury and illness logs to OSHA in a timely manner. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Twin_Pines_Construction_Inc_29320_1021_11.pdf*.
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 Concord Area Office. 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 Concord office at 603-225-1629.
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.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.