Judge upholds OSHA citations issued to Ohio-based
ALL Erection & Crane Rental for health and safety violations
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – An administrative law judge with the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission has affirmed six of seven safety and health citations issued to Independence-based ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in July of 2009. The company was assessed penalties totaling $10,850.
The citations were issued following an OSHA investigation opened in June of 2009 after a worker was struck in the head by debris during the cleanup of a 600,000-square-foot factory building in Cleveland owned by ALL Erection & Crane.
"Employers have a responsibility to ensure their workplaces are safe and that workers at their premises are afforded the proper protection for their health and safety," said Howie Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "We are pleased that the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has affirmed our findings in this case. Employers have a responsibility to protect the workers on their jobsites."
The company employed subcontractor Labor Ready to remove debris, including pigeon waste, from the building, which was in disrepair. The inspection revealed that several employees were exhibiting symptoms of histoplasmosis, a potentially fatal respiratory disease, as a result of inhaling dust created by sweeping and shoveling the bird waste.
ALL Erection & Crane contested the citations on the grounds that the workers were employed by Labor Ready, not ALL Erection & Crane. The judge rejected that argument because workers were being supervised on the jobsite by ALL Erection & Crane, and the company was controlling the manner and means of the work being accomplished.
As a result of the OSHA investigation, ALL Erection & Crane was issued five serious citations, all now upheld, for failing to provide guarding for a fifth floor elevator shaft; provide personal protective equipment, provide compliant respirators, provide medical personnel for advice and consultation, and train employees on hazardous chemicals in the workplace. 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. An additional serious citation issued by OSHA for failing to provide a lead assessment was dismissed by the administrative law judge.
OSHA issued one other-than-serious citation, which was upheld by the judge, for failing to determine the presence, quantity and location of asbestos-containing material or presumed asbestos-containing materials at the worksite. 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.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Cleveland Area Office at 216-615-4266. 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.