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Region 4 News Release
Release Number: USDL 04-577-ATL (77)
Thurs., April 8, 2004
Contact: Clyde Payne     Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (601) 965-4606     (404) 562-2076


OSHA Cites Mississippi Contractor for Scaffolding Hazards
More Than $113,000 in Penalties Proposed

JACKSON, Miss. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Atkins Masonry, Inc., after finding the company used dangerously unsafe scaffolding at a Hattiesburg construction site despite having been penalized for similar hazards several times in recent years.

"To ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $113,400 in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."

OSHA conducted its inspection as part of a regional effort to prevent falls at construction sites after Atkins employees were observed working from unsafe scaffolding. Most of the Atkins Masonry workers on the site were Hispanic.

The agency issued citations for seven alleged repeat violations, with proposed penalties totaling $96,600, including failure to assure that scaffolding was properly erected, that scaffold platforms were fully decked, and that workers had safe access to and from scaffold platforms. One repeat citation was issued because the company did not provide eye protection for workers using masonry saws.

OSHA had previously cited Atkins Masonry for safety violations similar to those observed at the Hattiesburg work site. As part of a 2002 settlement agreement, company owner Oscar Atkins agreed to comply with OSHA safety standards at future work sites and attend a scaffolding safety course, but he did not do so.

The company was also cited for four alleged serious violations, with penalties totaling $16,800, for failing to inspect scaffolding, to provide adequate scaffold plank supports, and to prevent employees from working on a scaffold platform improperly supported by a fork truck.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Atkins Masonry has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The work site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Jackson area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210; phone: (601) 965-4606.

In 2002, the most recent year for which data have been published, a six percent decline in job-related fatalities was achieved for Hispanic workers. 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. 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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