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Region 2 News Release: 11-825-PHI (eta 11-051)
June 1, 2011
Contact: Joanna Hawkins     Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: 215-861-5101     215-861-5102
E-mail: hawkins.joanna@dol.gov     uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Sayreville, NJ,
contractor for exposing workers to fall hazards

SAYREVILLE, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Sousa Contractors Inc. for exposing workers to fall hazards and other safety violations at an apartment building construction site in West Windsor Township, N.J. Proposed penalties total $107,900.

OSHA initiated an inspection on Dec. 10, 2010, as part of its Local Emphasis Program on Fall Hazards in Construction. As a result, the company was cited for one willful violation, with a penalty of $70,000; six serious violations, with a penalty of $37,900; and one other-than-serious violation, which carried no penalty.

"This company's failure to implement proper fall protection reflects a careless approach to workplace safety, leaving workers at risk of serious injury and possible death," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton, N.J., area office. "It's vital that Sousa Contractors correct these hazards to protect its workers."

The willful violation was due to the company permitting employees to install trusses of approximately 35 feet at the leading edge of the building without safety nets or personal fall arrest systems. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The serious violations include the company's failure to provide employees with instruction on the recognition of safety and health hazards, ensure employees were not exposed to debris such as protruding nails and lumber; provide safety glasses; ensure employees using an aluminum extension ladder extended the ladder 3 feet above the landing; ensure employees used an aluminum extension ladder at a safe angle; and ensure employees were grasping an extension ladder. 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.

The other-than-serious violation was due to the company's failure to prepare a written certification for fall protection training. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Sousa Contractors Inc. is a general contractor that supplies construction crews for framing, roofing and masonry work.

Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Marlton office; telephone 856-596-5200. 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.


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