Region 1 News Release: 11-365-BOS/BOS 2011-096
March 18, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA urges Rhode Island employers to guard
against fall hazards after citing contractor at Newport jobsite
Joe Squillante Contracting and Roofing faces $45,000 in fines
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Joe Squillante Contracting and Roofing Inc. for allegedly exposing employees to fall hazards at a residential worksite located at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Old Beach Street in Newport. The Medford, Mass., roofing contractor faces a total of $45,000 in proposed fines. With the coming of warmer weather, OSHA is encouraging all employers in Rhode Island to be cognizant of fall hazards and safeguards.
OSHA opened its inspection upon observing employees working without fall protection on a building's roof and on a ladder jack scaffold, exposing them to falls of 20 feet or more. OSHA also found that the scaffold's work platform exceeded the maximum allowed height of 20 feet, and the scaffold lacked a ladder for safe access to its work area. In addition, an extension ladder was set at an unsafe angle, and employees lacked helmets to protect them against overhead hazards.
Two repeat citations with $29,400 in fines were issued for the roof fall protection and scaffold height hazards, and four serious citations with $15,600 in fines were issued for the remaining items. The repeat citations were based on OSHA having cited the employer in July 2009 for similar hazards at a Winchester worksite. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A serious violation occurs 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.
"Fall hazards should be a primary concern for all employers in Rhode Island whose employees work at heights of 6 or more feet. When workers do the same work every day, they can fall into a pattern – and that complacency is dangerous," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's Rhode Island area director. "Employers should take the time to perform a 'spring tuneup' to review their safety programs, equipment, employee training and applicable OSHA regulations. It is critical to ensure their workers are effectively protected against fall hazards."
Detailed information on hazards and safeguards associated with construction work and scaffold use is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.
Joe Squillante Contracting and Roofing Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Providence Area Office; telephone 401-528-4669. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.