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Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-391-ATL (56)
Date: March 17, 2004
Contact: Ken Atha     Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (251) 441-6131     (404) 562-2076


OSHA Cites Alabama Contractors After Fatal Scaffolding Accident
Agency Proposes Penalties Totaling More Than $86,000

MOBILE, Ala. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Montgomery-based Pemberton, Inc., and Prattville-based Jarman Construction following the investigation of a Sept. 12 construction site scaffolding accident in Rockford that killed one worker and seriously injured another. The agency is proposing $86,600 in total penalties.

According to OSHA's investigation, a stepladder had been placed on a 25-foot-high scaffolding platform so that two Pemberton employees, who were installing wood trim to the walls of a Coosa County school, could reach the top of a cupola. When the scaffold tipped, the workers reportedly fell from the ladder to the concrete floor 30 feet below.

"Since October 2001, falls have caused the death of 157 workers in the Southeast," said Ken Atha, OSHA's Mobile area director. "While we have seen a decline in fall fatalities since OSHA began a fall protection emphasis program in 2002, scaffolding violations remain the most frequently cited safety hazard in construction."

OSHA issued one citation to Pemberton, Inc., with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for an alleged willful violation of the safety standard requiring employers to provide guardrails or other means of fall protection on the working level of the scaffolding.

The company also received nine citations for alleged serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $34,800, for not training employees about the hazards associated with scaffolds; failure to erect scaffolding properly; failure to plank the platforms fully; and failure to secure casters, join scaffold frames with coupling pins, and inspect the scaffolding.

OSHA issued one serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $2,800 to Jarman Construction, for failing to train employees in hazard recognition and regulations applicable to working on scaffolds. The company provided laborers, many of them Hispanic, for Pemberton.

The agency issues a willful violation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is issued 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.

The companies have 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite inspection was conducted by staff from OSHA's Mobile area office located at 3737 Government Blvd., Suite 100; phone: (251) 441-6131.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting the health and safety of America's workers. In fiscal year 2002, the most recent year for which data have been published, there was a 6.6 percent decline in work-related fatalities in the U.S. For more information visit www.osha.gov.


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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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