US Labor Department's OSHA fines Philadelphia company more than $78,000
for exposing workers to fall hazards at Cherry Hill, NJ, construction site
PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited WFC Construction Inc. for five repeat and seven serious alleged safety violations, including exposing workers to falls in excess of 18 feet at a Cherry Hill, N.J., worksite. Proposed penalties total $78,540.
OSHA initiated an inspection of the site on Nov. 10, 2010, under a local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction. Workers were refurbishing a multi-family, two-story townhouse complex.
"WFC Construction did not implement the proper fall protections, leaving workers vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury or death," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's area office in Marlton, N.J. "It is vital that the company abate these hazards, given that falls are one of the leading causes of fatalities on construction sites."
The repeat violations include the company's failure to provide employees with proper scaffolding, provide fall protection training, properly protect the edges of work surfaces and provide the proper ladders for employees exposed to falls in excess of 10 feet above ground. A repeat citation is issued 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.
The serious violations relate to the company's failure to initiate and maintain a safety and health program; ensure that a competent person conducted frequent and regular inspections of the jobsite; protect employees from debris containing nails that would cause tripping and puncture hazards; provide head protection; provide a personal fall arrest system to employees exposed to fall hazards in excess of 18 feet; and properly protect employees from wall/window openings that exposed employees to falls in excess of 10 feet. OSHA issues a serious citation 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.
Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html.
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 Marlton Area Office; telephone 856-596-5200. 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.