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OSHA News Release
Region 2

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Region 2 News Release: 08-1248-NEW/BOS 2008-249
Thurs., Sept. 4, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

Fall hazards at SUNY Geneseo worksite lead to $70,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for Rochester, N.Y., roofing contractor
A.M. Stern Inc. previously cited for fall hazards in Rochester and West Henrietta, N.Y.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Rochester, N.Y., roofing contractor faces $70,000 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for fall hazards of 38 to 44 feet at a worksite on the State University of New York at Geneseo campus in Geneseo, N.Y.

A.M. Stern Inc. was cited for five alleged repeat violations of safety standards following an OSHA inspection on June 24 when an inspector observed employees working without fall protection while performing roofing work atop Ontario Hall.

"These employees were exposed to falls of up to four stories," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "One slip, one misstep, one instance of losing balance could have ended their lives. What's more disturbing ¿ and the reason we're proposing these substantial fines ¿ is that this employer previously had been cited for fall hazards at other jobsites."

Four of the citations address fall hazards found at the Ontario Hall worksite: employees working without fall protection; employees not trained in fall protection methods and in how to recognize fall hazards; a safety monitor not competent to identify fall hazards; and a safety monitor not positioned to be able to communicate visually or orally with employees about fall hazards. The fifth citation concerned an employee working without head protection.

OSHA issues repeat citations when an employer previously has been cited for similar hazards and those citations have become final. In this case, OSHA had cited A.M. Stern in June and September 2006 for similar fall hazards at worksites in West Henrietta and Rochester, N.Y., respectively, and in April 2007 for lack of head protection at an Avon, N.Y., worksite.

"I want to put employers on notice that if our inspectors pass by a jobsite and observe fall hazards, they will stop and open an inspection on the spot, as happened here," said Dube. "Fall protection can never be left to chance. Proper and effective safeguards must be in place and in use every single day on every single job."

Detailed information on fall protection, including an interactive eTool, is available on OSHA's Web site at

A.M. Stern Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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


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