April 23, 2007
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: (215) 861-5102
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Brandenburg Industrial Services Co. Inc. for alleged safety and health violations and is proposing a total of $69,500 in penalties.
OSHA initiated its investigation of the Bethlehem demolition and asbestos abatement contractor on Nov. 7, 2006, after being notified of an accident at the demolition site of a former hotel in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The company was issued one repeat violation with a proposed penalty of $35,000 and seven serious violations with proposed penalties of $34,500.
"A Brandenburg employee fell through three floors of the building while operating machinery during the demolition," said Andrew Hedesh, area director of OSHA's area office in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. "Without the proper safety precautions at its demolition sites, the company continued to leave its employees open to the risk of injury."
The repeat violation was issued because the company failed to ensure that the 12th floor of the building being demolished was strong enough to support the weight of machinery being used on that floor. A violation is designated as repeat when a similar citation for the same hazard was issued in the previous three years.
The serious violations addressed the company's failure to brace floors weakened by deterioration or damage; failure to use barricades in areas where material and debris are dropped; lack of curbs around floor openings where machines are operated; failure to ensure floor load capability where debris is stored; failure to install and use protective canopies where employees enter and exit a structure being demolished to protect against hazards associated with demolition work; temporary power system exposing employees to possible electrocution; and lack of frequent and regular inspections of the jobsite by competent persons. Serious violations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Brandenburg Industrial Services Co. Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Wilkes-Barre Area Office, telephone (570) 826-6538.
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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