US Labor Department's OSHA cites Austin, Texas-based Arreola Masonry
with serious and repeat violations for exposing workers to scaffolding hazards
CEDAR PARK, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Arreola Masonry in Austin with three serious and three repeat safety violations for exposing workers to fall hazards at the company's work site in Cedar Park. Proposed penalties total $46,200.
"The leading cause of construction fatalities is falls," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Arreola Masonry jeopardized the safety of its employees by permitting them to work on a makeshift platform at a height of 15 feet. This practice is unacceptable."
As part of a regional emphasis program on construction hazards, OSHA began an inspection April 27 at the company's work site on South Lakeline Boulevard, where employees were building a car wash. OSHA investigators found numerous deficiencies in a makeshift platform on a forklift that employees were working from, including failing to provide a guardrail system.
Serious violations include failing to ensure the scaffold platform was safely designed and to obtain manufacturer approval for modifications to a forklift. 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 have a competent person inspect the scaffold for defects, provide scaffolding fall protection such as guardrails and train employees in scaffolding hazards. 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. In September 2010, OSHA cited the company for similar violations with proposed penalties of $6,000.
OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails or personal fall arrest systems, be in use during construction activities on scaffolds 10 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.
Arreola Masonry 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. 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, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.