Tues., Nov. 13, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Georgia-based contractor faces $40,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a fatal fall at a Niagara Falls, N.Y., hotel construction site. DEC Management Inc. of Athens, Ga., was cited for six alleged serious violations of safety standards.
OSHA cited DEC Management following an Oct. 3 incident at 10111 Niagara Falls Blvd. in which one employee was killed and another was injured when the pre-cast concrete panel on which they were standing shifted and fell 25 feet to the ground.
"Falls are the number-one killer in construction work," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "This case is the starkest example of what happens when basic, vital safeguards are ignored. This tragedy could have been prevented had these safeguards been in place."
OSHA's inspection found that the panel was not secured and lacked the strength and structural integrity to safely support the employees. The employees also lacked required fall protection and had not been provided required fall hazard training. In addition, there was no safety program to address fall hazards and inspections had not been conducted by a competent person -- someone with the knowledge to identify fall hazards and the authority to correct them. OSHA also determined that a portable ladder used to access upper landings was of insufficient length.
Detailed information on fall protection, including a link to an interactive e-Tool, is available on OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. DEC Management has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or 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 safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure 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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