Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-171
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE: (617) 565-2075
PLYMOUTH, MASS., MASONRY FIRM CITED BY OSHA FOR SCAFFOLDING SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT RHODE ISLAND CONSTRUCTION SITE
Commercial Masonry Corp. of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged SERIOUS and WILLFUL scaffolding safety violations at a construction site in Providence, Rhode Island. The agency is proposing $59,000 in penalties for the alleged violations.
According to Kipp W. Hartmann, OSHA area director for Rhode Island, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection which began on August 5, 1999, of a construction site located at 27 Page Street in Providence, where a new dormitory for Johnson and Wales University is under construction.
"At this site," said Hartmann, "we found twenty-eight employees of Commercial Masonry Corp., many of them up on scaffolds doing masonry work on the new building. We found these workers exposed to severe fall hazards of up to forty feet because of inadequate planking on the scaffolds and inadequate fall protection. Such basic disregard for employee safety is totally unacceptable, especially from an experienced employer who has been previously cited for similar violations on this site and on other job sites, which is the case with this employer."
Consequently, noted Hartmann, Commercial Masonry Corp. is being cited for one alleged WILLFUL safety violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $56,000, for: failing to fully plank the work platform on a tubular welded frame scaffolding for the complete width of the platform; exposing employees to falls of 40 feet by not providing them with adequate fall protection on said scaffolding; and failing to provide employees working in a hoist area with a personal fall arrest system or guardrail system.
The company is also being cited for one alleged SERIOUS violation, including a proposed penalty of $3,000, for failing to provide employees with an access ladder or equivalent safe access to the scaffolding.
Hartmann urged Rhode Island employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Providence. He added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which occur outside of normal business hours.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.