OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-05-1076-DAL
Friday, June 17, 2005
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
HOUSTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations to Cotton Construction Inc. of Waller, Texas, and proposed penalties totaling $70,800 for safety violations following the investigation of a fatality last January in Houston.
OSHA began its investigation Jan. 7 after a worker fell 25 feet to his death while working on a partially decked rooftop at a worksite on N. Shepherd. Cotton Construction, which employs about 12 workers, was cited for three willful and four serious violations.
"Employers must provide a safe and healthful working environment," said John H. Lawson, area director of OSHA's Houston North area office. "If OSHA's standards had been followed, this unfortunate accident might have been avoided."
The alleged willful violations include failing to ensure horizontal lifelines were designed, installed and used under the supervision of a qualified person; inadequate personal fall arrest systems; and failing to provide training for erecting, maintaining, disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Among the serious violations were failing to: assure anchorages used for attachments of personal fall arrest systems were capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds; inspect personal fall arrest systems prior to use for wear, damage and other deterioration or defective components; assure that training required by the OSHA steel erection standard was conducted by a competent person, and train employees on the proper use of ladders. 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.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston North area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards may contact OSHA's Houston North area office (281) 591-2438 or may call OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. 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.
U.S. Labor Department 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 at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor 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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