US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Alabama canopy company for
exposing workers to fall hazards; proposes more than $200,000 in fines
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Chapman Canopy Inc. with 12 safety violations, chiefly for exposing workers to fall hazards while installing canopies in Pinson, Albertville and Tuscaloosa. Proposed penalties total $202,040.
In November 2010, OSHA began its inspection at a work site in Pinson as part of a regional emphasis program focused on fall hazards. Inspectors observed workers being exposed to fall hazards while installing a canopy at a new gas station. Later inspections were conducted at job sites in Albertville and Tuscaloosa, which revealed similar fall hazards.
At the Pinson site, five repeat violations with $96,400 in penalties were cited for exposing workers to overhead hazards by failing to ensure head protection was worn, failing to fully plank the scaffold platform, failing to have fall protection for employees working from a scaffold, using the top step of a ladder to gain access to the top of the scaffolding, and not having a safe entry and exit to the upper level of the canopy. A repeat violation exists 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. Chapman Canopy was most recently cited in August 2009 for similar violations at a Madison location.
One serious and two repeat safety violations were cited at the Albertville site with $81,220 in penalties for failing to provide a fully planked scaffold platform, exposing workers to fall hazards and not extending the ladder 3 feet above the top of the canopy to prevent falling during transition from the ladder to the canopy. A serious violation occurs 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.
One serious and three repeat safety violations were cited at the Tuscaloosa site with $24,420 in penalties for exposing workers to overhead hazards by failing to ensure head protection was worn, failing to properly plank the scaffold platform, using the top step of a ladder to gain access to the top of the scaffolding and not using an appropriate personal fall protection system that would prevent the worker from making contact with a lower level.
"Chapman Canopy's refusal to implement proper fall protections reflects a careless approach to workplace safety, leaving workers at risk of serious injury and possible death," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "This company needs to take immediate steps to eliminate these hazards."
Chapman Canopy manufactures and installs canopies used at convenience stores and gas stations. It conducts business in the Southeast, mainly in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, with headquarters in Hueytown, Ala.
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 and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office located at 950 N. 22 St., Suite 1050, Birmingham, Ala. 35203; telephone 205-731-1534. 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.