US Labor Department's OSHA cites Paterson, NJ, construction company
for exposing workers to 12 safety hazards at Fort Lee, NJ, work site
PATERSON, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Illescas Brothers Construction Inc. of Paterson for exposing workers to 12 safety violations while performing masonry work on the exterior of a new home in Fort Lee. Proposed penalties total $65,340.
When OSHA inspectors arrived at the work site on June 28, they found several fall protection and scaffolding violations. For example, employees performing overhand bricklaying were permitted to climb the cross braces of the platform to access a work platform 24 feet above the ground, proper fall protection was not provided to employees trying to erect scaffolding and employees were allowed to work on an unstable scaffold 18 feet above the ground.
Three repeat violations with $55,440 in penalties include failing to use proper scaffolding and provide fall protection for employees erecting scaffolding. 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. Similar violations were cited in August 2007 at an Edgewater work site.
Six serious violations with $9,900 in penalties include failing to implement a respiratory protection plan, protect employees from falling material and provide safe access to a landing surface. 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.
Three other-the-serious violations with no monetary penalties include the absence of a portable fire extinguisher, failing to provide a written hazard communications program and failing to make a material safety data sheet readily available. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"A careless approach to worker safety and health, evidenced by these violations, places Illescas Brothers Construction employees at risk of serious injury and possible death," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "It is vital that all identified hazards be corrected as soon as possible."
The company 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 Hasbrouck Heights office; telephone 201-288-1700. 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.