Region 6 News Release: OSHA-09-23-DAL
Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 972-850-4709 972-850-4710
EL PASO, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $106,200 in penalties against El Paso-based Best Plastering Contractors for allegedly exposing employees to potential fall hazards.
OSHA issued the citations alleging four willful and three serious violations following an investigation that began July 11, 2008, when agency inspectors witnessed employees working on a scaffold without using fall protection equipment at the company's worksite on Patriot Point Drive in El Paso.
"The fines reflect the company's failure to follow OSHA requirements and their indifference toward providing their employees with a safe workplace environment," said Dean McDaniel, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "It is fortunate that no one was seriously injured."
The willful citations are for failing to fully plank working levels of the scaffold; to set up the scaffold on adequate foundation; to supply workers with a ladder or other safe access to the scaffold working levels; and to provide guardrails for employees working on upper levels of the scaffold. A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
Serious violations included failing to provide training for employees who used portland cement, a chemical which can cause skin burns; to properly brace the scaffold; and to repair or replace damaged scaffold components. A serious violation exists when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Lubbock, Texas, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety may call the agency's Lubbock Area Office at 806-472-7681. A toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. For more information, visit OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections, and finding nearly 88,000 violations of its standards and regulations, in fiscal year 2008.Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthy workplaces 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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.