Georgia stucco company cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for
exposing workers to fall hazards; more than $62,000 in penalties proposed
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hutchinson Stucco Inc. of Brunswick for 11 safety violations following an inspection that found workers were exposed to fall hazards while constructing a three-story residential building on Hamilton Landing Drive on St. Simons Island. OSHA initiated the inspection as part of a local emphasis program on protecting workers from falls in the construction industry. Proposed penalties total $62,200.
Nine repeat violations with $54,400 in fines have been cited for allowing workers to use a scaffolding system that was not fully planked; permitting the scaffolding system to have missing base plates; failing to have a competent trained person build, dismantle and move the scaffolding; failing to protect workers from falls of 25 feet by providing a guardrail, safety net or personal arrest system; missing cross bracing on the scaffolding system; failing to ensure employees working on the scaffolding system were trained to recognize and minimize hazards; failing to have the material safety data sheet readily available for employees mixing and applying building materials, such as (but not limited to) stucco cement, which contains hazardous chemicals; allowing workers not to use head protection; and failing to ensure all employees mixing and applying building materials received training regarding hazardous chemicals. 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. The company was cited for these same violations in April 2008.
Two serious violations with $7,800 in penalties have been cited for failing to have a ladder on the scaffolding as a means to access and exit the working platform, and allowing employees to work from a scaffold where planks were directly attached to a roof without having a fall protection system in place. 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.
"OSHA will not tolerate an employer repeatedly allowing workers to be exposed to falls from heights of up to 30 feet while working on improperly built scaffolding," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah.
Detailed information on scaffold hazards and safe work practices, including an interactive e-Tool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.
Hutchinson Stucco 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.
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 Savannah Area Office at 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 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.