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Region 2 News Release: BOS 2003-164
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
High School Construction Project; $99,300 in Fines Proposed
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Failure to adequately protect their workers against asbestos and fall hazards has resulted in a total of $99,300 in fines against three contractors involved in a construction project at Grover Cleveland High School in Buffalo, N.Y.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Ackerman Mechanical Systems Inc. a Grand Island, N.Y. plumbing contractor, Weydman Electric Inc., a Tonawanda, N.Y. electrical contractor, and Dommer Construction Inc., a Lancaster, N.Y. carpentry contractor, for a total of 33 alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
According to OSHA area director Arthur J. Dube, the inspection found that Ackerman and Weydman employees were exposed to both asbestos and fall hazards of up to 65 feet while working in a crawl space located above the auditorium in the 90-year old school building, while Dommer employees were exposed to falls of up to 13 feet from a covered walkway that was under construction.
"Asbestos is often present in older school buildings and falls are a common and deadly construction hazard," said Dube. "That's why it is critical for contractors working on school renovation projects to be aware of these hazards and to minimize the risk to their workers by complying with health and safety standards. There is no good reason for failing to do so."
Specifically, Ackerman faces $46,800 in fines and Weydman faces $37,500 in fines for failing to monitor the worksite to determine workers' asbestos exposure, inform workers about the asbestos, conduct asbestos removal work in a regulated area, provide respiratory protection and protective clothing, establish training and medical surveillance programs for exposed workers, properly remove asbestos from the work area and from workers' clothing, post warning signs, inform other employers of the type of work being done, designate a competent person to oversee the work, ensure working surfaces had sufficient strength to safely support workers and ensure floor openings were securely covered. Ackerman was also cited for ladder safety violations.
Dommer faces a $15,000 fine for an alleged repeat violation for failing to provide fall protection for workers constructing the covered walkway. A repeat citation was issued because OSHA has twice cited the company in the past for substantially similar hazards.
Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo area office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, New York, Telephone: (716) 684-3891.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.
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