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Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-192
Thurs., Oct. 4, 2001
Contact: Luis Santiago
PHONE: (954) 424-0242
MIAMI, FLA. -- Exposing employees to fall hazards has led to $102,300 in total proposed penalties for three Miami contractors by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A total of two willful and 15 serious citations for alleged violations of the fall protection and scaffolding standard resulted from two inspections initiated after the OSHA office was informed by an outside source in April and again in June about unsafe conditions at the site of a building addition for the Florida Department of Transportation in Miami.
Citing missing planks and guardrails on scaffolding platforms, OSHA issued two willful citations against the job's general contractor Grace & Naeem Uddin, Inc., with proposed penalties of $66,000, following the April inspection. Three alleged serious violations involving fall hazards resulted in another $9,000 in fines.
In June, OSHA found that employees of a sub-contractor were exposed to the same hazards and additional fines of $12,000 were imposed against Grace and Naeem Uddin, as controlling employer on the job, for continuing to expose workers to fall hazards. The penalties issued against this employer for both inspections totaled $87,000.
OSHA previously cited this employer for defective scaffolds, fall protection and training violations as the result of an earlier inspection triggered by a wall collapse that injured two workers in March of this year. As a result of the April and June inspections, Grace & Naeem Uddin again received citations for unsafe scaffolding which exposed workers to falls.
"This company has shown a total disregard for workers' safety," said Luis Santiago, OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale acting area director. "Even after the company was made aware of fall hazards in March and the recurring problems were noted in April, the same hazards turned up again. This employer knew the OSHA requirements and knew employees were exposed to falls of up to 36 feet but took no corrective action."
Following the April inspection, three serious citations with proposed penalties of $9,300 were issued against sub-contractor E-Z Block Construction Corp. for allegedly exposing employees to fall hazards by allowing them to work on scaffolding platforms 28 feet above the ground without proper planking and guardrails.
As a result of the June inspection, Unique Plastering, Inc., another sub-contractor, was cited for four similar alleged serious violations and fined $6,000.
All three contractors have 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspections were conducted by the OSHA area office located at the Jacaranda Executive Court, Bldg. H-100, 8040 Peters Rd., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; phone: (954) 424-0242.
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