Wed., Dec. 19, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A Fall River, Mass., contracting company with a history of not providing required fall protection for its employees faces $109,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for fall hazards at a Newport, R.I., residential construction site.
Miranda Construction Co. Inc. was cited for seven alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of safety standards on a worksite at 304 Broadway following an OSHA inspection begun June 19, 2007, in response to a report of employees working in unsafe conditions.
"The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the fact that this employer has been cited repeatedly in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for not providing this basic, common-sense and legally required safeguard," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's area director in Providence.
OSHA's inspection found employees exposed to falls of up to 12 feet from an unguarded roof, and up to 27 feet from an unguarded and unsecured pump jack scaffold and an unsecured ladder. According to Griffin, falls are the leading cause of death in construction work. The inspection also determined that the scaffold's supporting poles were not properly secured and plumbed and that employees working beneath the scaffold lacked protective headgear.
"There's no excuse for not protecting employees against the number-one killer in construction work," said Griffin. "Employees at this and other jobsites who lack required fall protection are just one step away from death or disabling injuries."
OSHA has cited Miranda Construction for a total of 17 fall and scaffolding violations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts since 1995. Most recently, it was cited in 2005 and 2006 for fall hazards at worksites in Cranston and Newport, R.I., and in 2003 and 2005 at worksites in New Bedford and North Dartmouth, Mass.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The latest inspection was conducted by OSHA's Providence area office (telephone 401-528-4669).
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and that citation has become final. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
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 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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