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Region 4 News Release: 11-1670-ATL (549)
Nov. 29, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino    Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076    404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov     wald.michael@dol.gov

Atlanta roofing contractor cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for
exposing workers to fall hazards; nearly $185,000 in penalties proposed

UNION CITY, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Midsouth Steel Inc. of Atlanta for four safety violations following an inspection that found workers exposed to fall hazards while performing roofing work on Roosevelt Highway in Union City. Proposed penalties total $184,800.

OSHA initiated the inspection as part of a local emphasis program protecting workers in the construction industry from falls. Midsouth Steel, a general contractor performing steel fabrication and roof decking, had been contracted by MBA Waste Service of Atlanta to build a 44,000-square-foot recycling facility in Union City.

Three willful violations with $184,800 in fines were cited for exposing workers to fall hazards by allowing them to work at heights of 35 feet in an aerial lift without requiring the use of fall protection, exceeding an aerial lift's load capacity and failing to provide fall protection for employees working on a steep pitched roof. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. Additionally, one other-than-serious violation with no monetary penalty was cited for failing to provide certification that the site supervisor received proper forklift operator training and evaluation. 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.

"Management knowingly exposed its workers to fall hazards because they were more concerned with completing the job faster than providing a safe work site," said Andre C. Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that workers are safe on the job."

OSHA has placed Midsouth Steel in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in June 2010, the program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on SVEP, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

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

The company's citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/midsouthsteel_314642489_1128_11.pdf*.

Midsouth Steel has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before 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 Atlanta-West office at 678-903-7301.

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.


* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.


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