US Labor Department's OSHA cites Newark, NJ, construction
company for exposing workers to fall, other hazards
NEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Dream House Stucco for 11 safety violations at a residential construction site in Monroe. OSHA initiated an inspection on March 28 under a local emphasis program focused on falls in construction, during which inspectors observed employees working on scaffolds at heights of up to 20 feet without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $64,020.
"Falls are one of the leading causes of occupational deaths, accounting for 8 percent of all occupational fatalities resulting from trauma," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office. "The company's hazardous practices continue to leave employees at risk of serious injury and possible death."
Five repeat violations with $43,560 in proposed penalties are related to scaffold hazards including the company's failure to ensure there was a firm foundation when scaffolds were erected, provide scaffold training, provide personal protection equipment and ensure that scaffolding was erected by a competent person. The company previously was cited for similar violations on Nov. 16, 2010, at a site in Elizabeth. 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.
Six serious violations with $20,460 in proposed penalties involve the company's failure to provide employees with hardhats; the use of worn or frayed electrical cords at the job site; missing fire extinguishers; and additional scaffold hazards, including missing cross bracing and the lack of safe access for the scaffold. 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.
OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems, be in use when workers perform residential construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level. Detailed information on fall protection hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
The Newark-based company, which employs about five workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Avenel office; telephone 732-750-3270. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency'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 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.
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.