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Complaint prompts inspection at Home Depot site
A Conley, Ga. concrete formwork contractor, which has seen four of its workers killed in fall-related accidents since 1987, was cited today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for knowingly exposing workers to potentially fatal fall hazards.
OSHA cited Southern Pan Services Company (SPS) for 11 violations, 10 of which were alleged willful violations for lack of fall protection during construction at the Home Depot headquarters in Smyrna, Ga. OSHA is proposing that SPS pay $460,000 in penalties.
"This company has clearly not complied with OSHA's leading-edge fall protection requirements," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "We cannot let employers place workers at risk of death or serious injury. That is precisely what SPS is doing now, and has done in the past."
In addition to the four deaths in the last 12 years, Jeffress said that SPS has had three non-fatal injuries related to falls during the same period. Further, OSHA cited the contractor 13 times for fall protection violations between 1988 and 1998.
Today's citations resulted from a complaint inspection which began last November. The complainant alleged that SPS did not implement a conventional fall protection program at the site for employees working at the leading edge of the concrete floors. Employees were being exposed to potential fall hazards ranging from 10 to 94 feet.
During the course of the investigation, SPS management at the jobsite said they would not comply with OSHA standards, despite the earlier OSHA citations. Jeffress said that the company refused to comply even when notified by OSHA of possible violations.
Of the 11 violations cited, 10 were alleged willful violations related to 34 instances of fall protection hazards, with a penalty of $455,000. The company was also cited for one alleged serious violation involving inadequate fall protection training for 38 employees, with a proposed penalty of $5,000.
One of the largest concrete formwork contractors in the eastern United States, SPS employs 800 workers. Sixty-eight employees worked on the Home Depot project.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and OSHA regulations. A serious violation is defined as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Southern Pan Services has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
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