Aug. 13, 2007
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
HOUSTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued nine safety citations with $141,600 in proposed penalties to San Antonio Lath & Plaster in Houston for violations found at a Sugar Land, Texas, construction site after investigators observed employees working without appropriate fall protection.
The company was cited with one serious, seven repeat and one other-than-serious violation. The serious violation alleges the improper use of extension cord sets. Seven repeat violations were for inadequately built and used scaffolding. The other-than-serious violation alleges inadequate examination of electrical equipment and the use of spliced flexible cords.
"Scaffold platforms were not fully decked, leaving gaps through which employees could fall," said Chuck Williams, OSHA's Houston South area office director. "An access ladder was not provided so that employees could safely access the upper levels of the scaffolding. Guardrails, used to prevent workers from falling off the scaffolding, were missing."
San Antonio Lath & Plaster has been cited 13 times by OSHA since 1999 for similar violations at construction sites in various cities.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. A repeat violation is issued when an employer has previously been cited for the same or a substantially similar violation that has become a final order. Other-than-serious violations are issued when a violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health but is not serious in nature.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, to request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston South area director or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards may call OSHA's Houston South Area Office at (281) 286-0583 or the agency's toll-free hotline at (800) 321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to employees.
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The agency has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 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.
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, audio tape 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.