Nov. 04, 2014
Southern Wood Works of Freeport, Florida, cited for
exposing workers to safety hazards; more than $70K in penalties proposed
WATERSOUND, Fla. – Southern Wood Works LLC was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for five safety violations following an August 2014 inspection at a Compass Point Way residence in Watersound. Citations were issued for failure to provide employees with fall protection equipment and exposure to falls from heights of up to 17 feet. OSHA initiated the inspection as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. Proposed penalties total $71,069.
Since 2009, Southern Wood Works has been inspected by OSHA five times and has received six citations for safety violations. The citations were issued because of the employer's failure to provide fall protection and personal protective equipment to workers.
"This employer has a history of violating OSHA standards and has shown little regard for the safety of its employees. We are still finding safety hazards identified during prior inspections and easily identifiable safety hazards, such as lack of fall protection and personal protective equipment," said Brian Sturtecky, director of OSHA's Jacksonville Office. "Turning a blind eye to unsafe acts or hazards in the workplace can lead to serious injury or death. Employers have an obligation under the law to provide a safe and healthful workplace free from known hazards."
A willful citation was issued for allowing employees to work from ladder jack scaffolds without fall protection equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
A repeat citation was issued for the employer's failure to ensure workers using a pneumatic nail gun wore safety glasses to protect them from flying debris or nails. 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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Southern Wood was previously cited for this violation in 2013 at a job site in Santa Rosa Beach.
Two serious citations were issued for allowing employees to work on and under scaffolds without wearing hard hats, which exposed them to falling debris. The employer exposed workers to shock and burn hazards from dry, rotted wiring with broken insulation and failed to ensure a first aid kit was available at the work site. 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.
Southern Wood Works, headquartered in Freeport, is a residential framing and siding contractor. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the preliminary Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, fatal work injuries in Florida* accounted for 234 of the 4,405 fatal work injuries* reported nationally in 2013. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov.
OSHA has created a fall prevention Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Jacksonville Area Office at 904-232-2895.
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.
Release Number: 14-1777-ATL (302)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.