US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Florida tree care company for safety
violations following worker injury in Gainesville; penalties exceed $153,000
ALACHUA, Fla. – Gainesville Tree Service Co. of Alachua has been cited for six safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $153,600 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA began an inspection after a worker suffered a serious cut to his thigh by a chain saw at a Gainesville job site in March.
Three willful violations with penalties of $147,000 involve not providing protective leg coverings and eye or face shields to employees who operated chain saws, and not providing hard hats to employees working on the ground under trees. A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
Two serious violations carrying $6,600 in penalties involve failing to have a person adequately trained to provide first aid, make adequate first-aid supplies readily available in the workplace, and have a written plan designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The company had not developed an emergency response or rescue plan for employees injured in trees, aerial lifts or other situations. 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 other-than-serious citation with no monetary penalty was cited for failing to develop a hazard communication program that included material safety data sheets as well as training for employees using flammable liquids and petroleum lubricants. 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.
"OSHA expects employers to be proactive by providing the protective equipment needed to prevent injuries, rather than wait for an incident with severe consequences, such as this one, to occur," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville.
Gainesville Tree Service Co. has up to 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office, 1851 Executive Center Drive, Suite 227, Jacksonville, Fla. 32207; telephone 904-232-2895. 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.