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Region 5 News Release: 09-1541-CHI
Dec. 29, 2009
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites International Masonry Inc. for safety violations that contributed to fatality
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited International Masonry Inc. in Columbus with proposed penalties totaling $140,800 for alleged serious and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards after investigating the death of a worker.
International Masonry Inc. has been cited with three willful violations. The proposed penalties of $112,000 are for allegedly modifying the manufacturer's designed outrigger brackets on scaffolding, not ensuring scaffolding was properly secured to prevent tipping and not ensuring bracing was installed according to manufacturer's recommendations. A willful citation is issued when evidence shows an intentional and knowing violation, or plain indifference to its requirements.
The company also has received citations for seven serious violations, with proposed fines of $28,000. Some of the violations address the company's failure to ensure that power industrial-truck operators were properly trained; failure to repair or replace damaged scaffolding components; guardrail not properly installed; and ladders not used as required, according to safety standards. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The company also received an other-than-serious violation with a fine of $800 for not maintaining proper record keeping logs.
"Fatalities and injuries of workers due to falls from scaffolding are very much preventable if proper safety procedures are adhered to," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "OSHA will use all legal measures to ensure that employers that willfully ignore OSHA safety regulations come into compliance. We want workers to return home, safe and healthy, at the end of every shift."
OSHA conducted a comprehensive safety inspection in July 2009 following the fatality of a worker who fell approximately 37 feet after the scaffolding he and two other workers were on collapsed. The family owned company, which employs approximately 100 people, specializes in masonry and stonework construction and has had 59 previous OSHA inspections resulting in 41 violations since 1973, including a fatality inspection in 2002.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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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