Region 1 News Release: 11-1590-BOS/BOS 2011-395
Dec. 7, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $127,560 in fines against
recidivist Shelton, Conn., contractor for willful fall hazards
Total Remodeling Services repeatedly cited for exposing roofers to deadly conditions
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A Shelton, Conn., roofing contractor with a significant history of failing to provide fall protection for its employees has again been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for fall hazards, this time at a work site located at 15 Denise Drive in Stratford. Total Remodeling Services LLC faces a total of $127,560 in proposed fines. This is the fourth time since 2009 that OSHA has cited this employer for fall-related hazards.
"There is a simple truth that employers must recognize: Fall protection is a requirement, never an option, when employees work at heights of 6 feet or more," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "In this case, employees were exposed to 15- to 22-foot falls from the roof and ladders because this employer chose to not provide the required safeguards and training that would protect them."
OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office opened its inspection after an OSHA inspector observed Total Remodeling Services employees working on a roof without any form of fall protection. The inspection also established that the workers had not been trained to recognize that they were exposed to fall hazards, nor had they been trained in properly setting up and using ladders to access the roof. They faced an additional fall hazard from carrying shingles and other materials while they were climbing ladders.
Because OSHA cited Total Remodeling Services Inc. in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for the same hazards at work sites in Bridgeport and Milford, the agency is now citing the contractor for three willful violations with $120,300 in proposed fines for the hazards at the Stratford work site. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
"Falls are the number one killer in construction work," Kowalski said. "An employer who repeatedly and knowingly fails to safeguard his employees against falls exposes them to death or disabling injuries."
Total Remodeling Services was cited for one serious violation for allowing an employee to use his hand to extend the upper section of a ladder while he was on it. 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. Additionally, one repeat violation was cited for failing to inspect a ladder for damage. 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. A similar violation was cited at a Bridgeport work site in November 2009. Fines for the serious and repeat violations total $7,260.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/TotalRemodelingServicesLLC_1028_11123287484.pdf*.
Detailed information on hazards and safeguards associated with falls is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html#construction. A "QuickCard" with ladder safety tips is available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_ladder_qc.pdf*.
Total Remodeling Services 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.
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 Bridgeport office at 203-579-5581.
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 materials.