Fri., Oct. 17, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Damap Construction Inc. of Spring Valley, N.Y., for alleged willful violations of safety standards at a residential construction site located at 200 Lafayette Ave. in Suffern, N.Y. The masonry contractor faces a total of $48,000 in proposed fines.
The citations and fines follow an OSHA inspection initiated in April after an agency inspector passing by the worksite observed employees working in plain view without fall protection. Specifically, OSHA's inspection found that Damap employees were exposed to falls of more than 51 feet while installing plywood grout stops at the perimeters of the building's roof. They also were exposed to impalement hazards from unguarded reinforcing steel rebar beside where they were working. OSHA had cited Damap Construction in 2005 for similar hazards at a Yonkers, N.Y., jobsite.
"There is no way to understate the danger of fall hazards, which are the number one killer in construction work," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown. "Whenever employees work without adequate and effective fall protection, they are just one misstep away from death or disabling injury. What's particularly disturbing in this case is that this employer knew these safeguards were required yet did not ensure they were in place and in use."
As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued two willful citations to Damap Construction. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
"One effective means of addressing workplace hazards is an effective safety and health management system," said Cortez. "Having one allows employees and management to work together in a systematic and effective manner to evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards before they cause injury or illness."
Damap Construction has elected to contest its citations and fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Tarrytown Area Office; telephone 914-524-7510.
Detailed information on fall protection is available on OSHA's Web site at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
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 www.osha.gov.
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