Region 1 News Release: 10-1534-BOS/BOS 2010-455
Nov. 10, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Salem, Mass., contractor faces $46,500 in fines from US Labor Department's
OSHA for fall and other hazards at Holliston, Mass., jobsite
ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited James J. Welch & Co. Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following OSHA's inspection of a building under construction at 79 Hollis St. in Holliston, Mass. The Salem, Mass., contractor, who was general contractor for the project, faces a total of $46,500 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall and tripping hazards identified during OSHA's inspection.
OSHA found employees at the worksite exposed to fall hazards while working without fall protection due to missing or inadequate protective railings on work surfaces and window openings. These conditions resulted in the issuance of six serious citations, with $22,500 in proposed fines. A serious citation is issued 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.
"When fall protection is absent, workers are just seconds away from a deadly or disabling fall," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. "The fact that no fall has occurred in no way minimizes this potentially deadly hazard, nor does it relieve the company of its responsibility to ensure that effective fall protection is in use at all worksites at all times."
The inspection also identified several hazards at the Holliston worksite similar to those cited by OSHA in 2009, following its inspection of a Welch worksite in Boston, Mass. These included tripping and fall hazards from uncovered, unsecured or unlabeled floor holes, as well as the employer's failure to have a competent person inspect the jobsite in order to identify and correct hazardous conditions. Due to their recurring nature, OSHA issued the company four repeat citations with $24,000 in proposed fines for these latest hazards. A repeat violation is issued 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 fall protection hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
James J. Welch & Co. Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its current citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Andover Area Office, telephone 978-837-4460. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA'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 assure 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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