OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 04-1443-BOS/BOS 2004-175
Monday, August 9, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
CONCORD, N.H. -- A Fitchburg, Mass., steel contractor's failure to follow proper procedures and ensure fall protection for its workers at a Merrimack, N.H., construction site has resulted in $194,700 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
"Employers have a duty to safeguard their employees against hazardous working conditions," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor John Henshaw. "The $194,700 in fines levied in this case reflect both the seriousness of the hazards found at this jobsite and our strong commitment to reducing injuries and illnesses for America's workers."
Roberto's Steel Erectors Inc. has been cited for a total of 17 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at a Manchester Street worksite where Roberto's was constructing an office complex.
OSHA's inspection began on Feb. 13, after the agency was informed of numerous fall hazards at the jobsite. The inspection found employees exposed to falls ranging from 15 feet to more than 30 feet due to lack of fall protection on the roof, open-sided decking while workers were plumbing up the structure, as well as numerous uncovered floor openings and placement of bundles of decking on unsecured joists. These citations were classified as willful, the most severe category of OSHA citation, and account for $167,500 of the total fines.
Several steel erection hazards were found at this jobsite as well. They included failure to stabilize structural components, premature release of hoisting cables, using girders to secure lifelines without determining their adequacy as an anchor point for a fall protection system, spreading joists without anchoring them, and failure to supply fall protection for employees spreading joists along the roof and performing grinding at the second floor edge. OSHA had cited Roberto's in November 2003 for similar hazards at an Amherst, N.H., construction site where an employee fatality occurred due to lack of fall protection. As a result, these latest citations are classified as repeats and carry $15,200 in fines.
The serious violations include employees riding on the elevated forks and masts of a forklift, unsecured and unmarked floor holes, improperly erected decking, unsecured bundles of joists, no eye protection, buckets of bolts not secured against falling to lower levels, and no perimeter cable. A total of $12,000 in fines is proposed for these items.
Roberto's Steel Erector's Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Concord, N.H., office conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (603) 225-1629.
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. In fiscal year (FY) 2002, the most recent year for which data has been published, there was a 6.6 percent decline in work-related fatalities in the U.S. In FY 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries including construction. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.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. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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