US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Austin, Texas, plastering and
stucco company for exposing workers to scaffolding and fall hazards
AUSTIN, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Jose Ramirez, doing business as RB Plastering in Austin, with seven serious, seven repeat and one other-than-serious violation following a safety and health inspection at the company's work site in Austin. Proposed penalties total $106,260.
"This is not the first time RB Plastering has exposed its employees to workplace hazards," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Lack of fall protection devices can result in serious injuries and fatalities."
OSHA began its inspection Nov. 24, 2010, at the plastering and stucco company's work site on Sunny Lane, where workers were plastering a home on scaffolds of heights up to 28 feet without guardrails or other fall protection devices. The inspection was conducted as part of a regional emphasis program on construction hazards that permits inspectors to initiate work site inspections after observing safety hazards.
Serious violations include failing to support and brace scaffolds with wall ties, provide fall protection training for working on roof edges, and clear work areas of boards with protruding nails and rebar impalement hazards. 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.
Repeat violations include failing to provide fall protection for employees working on roof edges and scaffold platforms up to 28 feet in height, train users on scaffolding hazards and fully plank working platforms. 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 other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. RB Plastering was cited for similar violations in 2009 at a work site in Bee Cave.
The other-than-serious violation is for failing to have a competent person inspect scaffolding components for visible defects that could affect the structural integrity of the equipment. 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.
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.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin, or contest the citations and 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 Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace accidents, 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 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, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.