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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-04-804-DAL
Fri, May 7, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
HOUSTON -- Failure to protect employees from potential scaffolding and fall hazards has brought Leonel Rubio Masonry in Houston $43,200 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Leonel Rubio Masonry, a brick-laying company that employs about 15 workers, was issued citations for alleged serious and repeat safety violations following an inspection by the OSHA Houston south area office that began on March 12. The inspection was conducted as part of a special emphasis program aimed at preventing injuries from falls. Employees were found working on inadequate scaffolds not protected by fall protection equipment.
"Unsafe scaffolds are a major cause of falls in the construction industry," said Chuck Williams, OSHA's Houston south area office director. "Employers need to strictly follow safety standards to prevent injuries and fatalities."
Eight alleged serious violations include failing to provide guardrails on scaffolding to prevent falls, failing to properly deck the scaffolding, failing to provide employees with ladders for access and failing to have a competent person who is knowledgeable about scaffolding on site. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Five alleged repeat violations include failing to provide personal protective equipment and failing to provide fall-protection equipment such as toeboards. A repeat violation is one for which the employer was previously cited where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.
Williams noted that this is the third inspection in recent years for Leonel Rubio Masonry in which similar violations were found. The two previous inspections, one in Mansfield, Texas, and the other in Oklahoma City, resulted in penalties totaling more than $3,000.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the nearest OSHA office. OSHA's 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 employer has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year 2003, an increase of more than 2,000 over FY 2002 inspection levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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