OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 News Release: 05-1972-BOS/BOS 2005-285
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Two New Haven County contractors face a total of $27,100 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a Sept. 8 scaffold collapse in Fairfield, Conn.
Employees of New Haven Scaffolding and Petra Construction were working on a scaffold and on the roof of the Pequot Library when the scaffold tipped over, causing one worker to fall 17 feet to the ground. Petra Construction, based in North Haven, was the general contractor while New Haven Scaffolding was the scaffolding subcontractor.
"This case highlights why it is vital for worker safety that scaffolds are erected properly, employees are trained adequately and fall protection is ensured," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "It's fortunate no one was killed in this incident, but safety must never be just a matter of luck."
OSHA's inspection found that the scaffold was unsecured and unbraced; not fully planked; lacked a safe means of access, and was not erected under the supervision of a competent person. In addition, employees did not have fall protection and were not trained to recognize and address hazards associated with work on scaffolds. Also, the extension ladder used to access the roof was set on an uneven surface, unsecured and of inadequate length.
As a result of these conditions, Petra Construction was issued six serious citations and fined $16,100 while New Haven Scaffolding was issued eight serious citations with $11,000 in fines. Both employers were cited for the scaffold, fall, access and ladder hazards; New Haven Scaffolding was also cited for the lack of employee training and improper erection of the scaffold.
OSHA defines a serious violation as a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Each employer has 15 working days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Bridgeport area office, which conducted the inspection, can be reached at (203) 579-5581.
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 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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