May 3, 2007
Contact: Dan Fuqua Michael Wald
Phone: (404) 562-2078 (404) 562-2076
Department proposes $55,250 fine for willful and serious violations
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $55,250 in penalties against Columbus, Ga.-based Composite Construction Systems for safety violations committed while installing roof decking at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga.
Under an agency regional emphasis program focused on reducing falls in the construction industry, an OSHA compliance officer initiated the inspection after observing fall hazards at the site.
"This company placed its employees' lives at risk by allowing unsafe working conditions," said John J. Deifer, OSHA's area director in Savannah. "Falls are a leading cause of death in construction and most are preventable if companies follow the proper procedures."
OSHA proposed a $49,000 penalty against the company for a willful violation of safety regulations by not ensuring that employees used personal fall protection or a fall restraint system, although the agency had issued a prior warning about this hazard. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Composite Construction also received three serious citations, with proposed penalties of $6,250, for improper use of a lifeline and ladder and allowing employees to climb over guard rails on an aerial lift basket to gain access to the roof. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. The company was cited for a serious violation in 2004 at a different construction site for allowing similar hazards.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Savannah Area Office, 450 Mall Blvd., Suite J; telephone (912) 652-4393.
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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