Monday, December 18, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA also Cites Projects' Virginia-based Developer
METHUEN, Mass. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Shawnlee Construction LLC for allegedly exposing employees to fall hazards at residential construction projects in Newton and Danvers, Mass. The Plainville, Mass., wood framing contractor faces a total of $164,000 in fines. OSHA also issued $43,000 in proposed fines to Alexandria, Va.-based Avalon Bay Communities, the developer, project manager and general contractor for both projects.
OSHA inspections in June and August found Shawnlee employees at Avalon Bay at Chestnut Hill in Newton working at heights up to 33 feet without fall protection and employees at Avalon Bay at Danvers working without fall protection at heights up to 22 feet.
"Falls are the number one killer in construction," said Francis Pagliuca, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "Workers' lives are needlessly placed at risk when effective fall protection is absent. While it's fortunate that no one was killed at these worksites, the potential for death or disabling injuries was real and present."
OSHA issued two repeat citations to Shawnlee for the fall hazards in Newton and Danvers because the agency had cited the company in 2004 and 2005 for fall hazards at jobsites in Andover and Charlton, Mass. Shawnlee was issued an additional repeat citation for exposing employees to overhead hazards at the Newton site, because it was cited in 2005 for similar hazards at jobsites in Hudson, Mass., and Mt. Kisco, N.Y. Proposed fines for the repeat citations total $140,000.
Seven serious citations, carrying $24,000 in proposed fines, were issued to Shawnlee for uncovered floor holes at the Danvers worksite and for electrical, fire extinguisher, guardrail, debris, stairway and additional fall protection hazards at the Newton site. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Avalon Bay Communities was issued one repeat and five serious citations for fall, electrical, stairway, debris, fire extinguisher and lighting hazards at the Newton jobsite.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's area office in Methuen, telephone (617) 565-8110.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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