US Labor Department's OSHA cites Alabama masonry contractor
for safety and health violations, proposes more than $47,000 in fines
HOOVER, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Montevallo, Ala.-based Martinez Masonry for nine safety and health violations at a construction site on James Hill Way in Hoover, primarily for exposing workers to fall hazards. OSHA began an inspection as part of its regional emphasis program to reduce the number of falls in the construction industry. Proposed penalties total $47,520.
Five repeat violations penalties of $39,600 include allowing employees to work on scaffolding that was not fully planked, allowing employees to climb a scaffold frame to access a work platform, using scaffolding with planks extended more than 12 inches over the support, erecting scaffolding where footings were not capable of supporting its load without settling or displacement, and not having a scaffold erected by a competent person. 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. The company was cited for the same violations in 2008.
Two serious violations with penalties of $7,920 include allowing workers to toss bricks and mix mortar without wearing eye and face protection, and allowing workers to toss and catch bricks without head protection. 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.
Two other-than-serious violations with no monetary penalty include allowing workers to mix mortar cement while wearing the wrong type of respirator, and failing to develop a hazard communication program to address silica and Portland cement hazards. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"There is no justification for risking workers' safety by erecting scaffolding improperly and not requiring needed personal protective equipment," said Roberto Sanchez, director of OSHA's Birmingham Area Office.
More information on scaffolding safety is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/scaffolding/overview/index.html.
Martinez Masonry 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 office; 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.