Aug. 27, 2008
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
Federal action proposes $175,600 penalties for Chicago-based company
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Orlowski Co. Inc., a building masonry company based in Chicago, for multiple alleged willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.
As a result of an inspection initiated in February, OSHA has issued citations for five willful violations with proposed penalties totaling $175,000. The willful violations address Orlowski Co. Inc.'s failure to provide fall protection on scaffolds and hoist equipment and its failure to provide fall protection for employees working at or near floor holes at the construction site. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
OSHA also issued a citation for a serious violation with a proposed $600 fine for failing to initiate and maintain a safety and health program.
"Falls at construction sites are preventable," said Gary Anderson, director of OSHA's area office in Calumet City, Ill. "They are tragedies that can be avoided if an employer is dedicated to protecting employees. Employers must remain vigilant to ensure a safe and healthful workplace. Failure to do so will result in close scrutiny by this agency."
Orlowski Construction, reportedly a predecessor company to Orlowski Co. Inc., has a judgment pending in the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, for $409,195 for unpaid OSHA penalties from 17 previous inspections. Also pending before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission is a citation involving Orlowski Co. Inc. for alleged violations of OSHA's fall protection standard with penalties totaling $56,600 involving an investigation that occurred in November 2007.
Orlowski Co. Inc. has approximately 23 employees who perform masonry work on building exteriors. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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