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Region 1 News Release: 11-1439-BOS/BOS 2011-353
Oct. 19, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Rhode Island contractor for serious
safety violations after fatal worker fall at Woonsocket job site

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Fernandes Construction of Glendale for 10 alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards at a construction site located at 167 Blackstone St. in Woonsocket after an employee sustained fatal injuries from falling 50 feet through a skylight.

"One step in the wrong location can have devastating and irreparable consequences," said Patrick Griffin, OSHA's Rhode Island area director. "Falls are the leading killer in construction work, but they can be prevented with effective guarding and training. I urge all contractors in Rhode Island to examine their fall protection programs, make any necessary improvements, and ensure that their workers are properly trained to recognize and avoid fall hazards on the job."

An inspection conducted by OSHA's Providence Area Office found that the skylight opening lacked a guardrail or equivalent means to prevent workers from stepping on or through the skylight. In addition, open holes on walking/working surfaces at the site were not covered, and employees were not trained to recognize fall hazards.

Inspectors also identified violations involving a hand-fed circular saw that lacked proper guarding to protect employees, electrical components that were not covered to prevent employees from possible contact, unmarked electrical panels and the lack of ground fault circuit interrupters. 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.

Detailed information on fall and electrical hazards in construction, including means of safeguarding workers, is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/electrical/construction.html.

Fernandes Construction, which faces $42,840 in proposed fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest OSHA's findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Providence Area Office at 401-528-4667.

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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