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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-03-191
Tues., Oct. 14, 2003
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214)767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
Citing Company for Fifth Time
HOUSTON -- A Houston masonry company's failure to properly train its employees and follow safety standards to prevent scaffolding and fall hazards has resulted in proposed penalties totaling $344,800 by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Roeber Masonry Inc., was cited with seven alleged willful, one alleged serious and five alleged other-than-serious violations following an OSHA inspection. The inspection began March 24 at a construction site in Katy, Texas, as part of an OSHA local emphasis program aimed at preventing fall hazards in the construction industry.
"Fall hazards are a major contribution to fatalities in the construction industry," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This company has been cited five times since 1996 for the same violations. It is imperative that employers provide safe scaffolding for their workers, and this Administration is committed to protecting the safety of workers and using its enforcement powers when health and safety standards are ignored."
The alleged willful violations include failure to provide guardrails or an access ladder for scaffolding, failure to have a competent person supervising employees working on the scaffold and failure to provide adequate fall protection equipment. A willful violation is committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The alleged serious violation was for the company's failure to provide hard hats for their employees. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have know, of the hazard.
The alleged other-than-serious violations included failure to ensure that employees understand the hazards of working with such chemicals as silica and failure to evaluate if respiratory protection was needed. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and or health of the employees.
Roeber Masonry, located in Pearland, Texas, was a subcontractor of Spectrum Construction Services and employs about 45 workers. Houston-based Spectrum Construction Services, the general contractor at the worksite, was cited with seven alleged serious violations, resulting in penalties totaling $21,000. Violations included misuse of scaffolding equipment, and failure to provide guardrails, toe boards, planking and access ladders.
Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health can contact OSHA's Houston South area office at (281) 286-0583. A toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
The employers have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston South area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov.
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