OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
PEABODY, MASS., CONTRACTOR CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SERIOUS AND WILLFUL FALL HAZARDS ON STEEL ERECTION PROJECT IN MEDFORD, MASS.
BOSTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited A. P. S. Products, Inc. (formerly Pimental Steel, Inc.) of Peabody, Mass., for alleged serious and willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following a fatal fall at a construction site in Medford, Mass. The alleged violations carry proposed penalties totaling $39,200.
The citations result from an investigation by OSHA after a fatal accident on Dec. 21, 2000, at the construction site of a cold storage warehouse at 23 Sycamore Ave. in Medford. The investigation revealed that an employee of A.P.S., unprotected by any sort of fall protection equipment, had plunged 40 feet to his death from the top of the steel frame of the building under construction.
"This worker's death was all the more tragic, because we know from a previous case involving this company that this employer was well aware of its responsibility to provide employees with fall protection on this type of project, and had legally committed itself to do so in order to settle that case. It is because of this knowledge and this commitment that we are now citing the employer for willful violations," said Richard J. Fazzio, OSHA's area director for Northeastern Massachusetts.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The alleged willful violations concern the company's failure to provide effective means of fall protection, such as safety nets, when employees were exposed to falls of 40 feet from steel framework and decking, and failure to require employees to use body belts or body harnesses with safety lanyards when using aerial lifts to enter or leave the steel structure. OSHA's proposed fine is $28,000 for these violations.
The four alleged serious violations pertain to the employer's failure to properly train employees in the recognition of fall hazards and the methods to be used to protect them from such hazards, the improper and unsafe use of ladders on the job site, and the failure to secure ladders on slippery surfaces. A total of $11,200 in penalties is attached to these violations.
A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Fazzio urged employers and employees with questions about safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Methuen (617-565-8110). OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA may be used to report accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially outside of normal business hours. Another source of information is OSHA's Web site: www.osha.gov.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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