US Department of Labor's OSHA cites El Paso, Texas,
plastering company for exposing workers to fall hazard
EL PASO, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued five repeat citations to Best Plastering Contractors in El Paso for exposing workers to fall hazards. Proposed penalties total $99,000.
"Falls are one of the most common and well-known hazards at a construction site. This is not the first time this company has jeopardized the safety of its workers," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "Falls can injure or kill a worker within seconds. It is fortunate in this case that there were no injuries or fatalities."
OSHA's El Paso Area Office initiated this inspection on Oct. 19, 2010, when employees were observed working on a scaffold without the use of fall protection equipment at a worksite on Carole Jeschke Court in El Paso. Best Plastering employs about 18 workers at its El Paso facility and eight of them were at this worksite.
Violations include failing to provide base plates and mud sills to prevent scaffolds from becoming unstable, a ladder for safe access to all working levels of the scaffold, training for employees who perform scaffolding work, and fall protection systems such as guardrails and/or personal fall arrest systems such as harnesses to employees working from a scaffold. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
In 2009, the company was fined more than $106,000 and cited with four willful and three serious violations for exposing employees to the same safety hazards.
OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems, be in use when workers perform residential construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level. Detailed information on fall protection hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html. 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.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in El Paso or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's El Paso Area Office at 915-534-6251 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
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 assure 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, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.