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Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-208
Mon., Oct. 22, 2001
Contact: Roberto Sanchez
Phone: (205) 731-1534
FALL HAZARDS AT HUNTSVILLE JOB SITE BRING OSHA CITATIONS
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Failure to provide adequate fall protection for employees at a Huntsville job site has resulted in one alleged willful and two alleged serious citations and proposed fines of $53,000 for an Alabama contractor.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today it has cited Vinemont-based Independent Plastering Inc. after a compliance officer observed employees working 20 feet above the ground without fall protection. The workers, standing on a makeshift walk-board with unstable support, were applying stucco to the front of a newly constructed building.
"This employer showed intentional disregard for OSHA regulations by failing to protect workers from the most common cause of work-related accidental injury and death," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "In the southeastern region, falls accounted for 33 percent -- 84 of 252 -- of the fatal accidents recorded from Oct. 1, 2000 through Sept. 30, 2001. Six, or 25 percent, of the 24 Birmingham fatalities during the same period were the result of falls."
One alleged willful citation was issued because workers at heights over six feet were not properly supported and were not protected by guardrails or a personal fall arrest system.
The company also received two alleged serious citations involving the improper support provided for the walk-board which was extended between two scissor lifts that were held up by unstable objects.
Willful violations are ones committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. Serious violations are those in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Independent Plastering has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the Huntsville job site was conducted by OSHA's area office located at Todd Mall, 2047 Canyon Rd., Birmingham, Ala. 35216; telephone: (205) 731-1534.
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