Region 10 News Release: 14-759-SEA (SF-33)
May 7, 2014
Contact: Jose; A. Carnevali
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Idaho homebuilder for willfully
exposing workers to fall hazards
TKO Custom Homes in Twin Falls faces $27,600 in fines
BOISE, Idaho – After a worker was seriously injured from a fall at a construction site, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited TKO Inc., doing business as TKO Custom Homes, with three serious and one willful violation related to fall hazards. OSHA began its inspection of the Twin Falls-based company in November 2013. The employer faces $27,600 in proposed fines for the violations.
"The leading cause of death on construction jobs is falls," said Dave Kearns, area director of OSHA's Boise office. "No reputable contractor would admit to taking shortcuts in quality, but many do take shortcuts with regard to worker safety. Gambling with a worker's life is never an option."
The OSHA inspection revealed that workers for several TKO Custom Homes subcontractors were engaged in construction activities on the upper floors of an apartment complex in Twin Falls. The workers were exposed to fall hazards up to 9 feet 6 inches from the ground while walking and working on stairways and landings throughout the job site. The company did not provide guardrails, stair rails or other required means of fall protection. OSHA cited the employer with a willful violation for failing to have these mandatory protection systems in place. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violations involve failure to keep work areas clear from construction debris and for not having handrail systems on stairways. 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.
To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards, a National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction will take place from June 2-6. This voluntary event has employers talk to employees about fall hazards to reinforce the importance of fall prevention. Detailed information on the stand-down is available at http://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/index.html.
TKO Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 800-321-6742 or the agency's Boise Area Office at 208-321-2960.
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 https://www.osha.gov/.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).