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OSHA News Release – Region 1
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-160
Thursday, October 26, 2000
CONTACT: John M. Chavez
PHONE: (617) 565-2075
PITTSFIELD, NEW HAMPSHIRE, EMPLOYER CITED BY OSHA FOR NUMEROUS CONSTRUCTION WORK SITE CRANE SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT TWO MALDEN, MASSACHUSETTS, LOCATIONS; OVER $91,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
Allstate Steel Corp. of Pittsfield, New Hampshire (doing business as TMS Erectors) has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor for numerous alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at two school construction sites in Malden, Massachusetts. The Federal workplace safety agency is proposing a total of $91,400 in penalties for the alleged violations, which exposed the company's employees to hazards posed by defective construction cranes.
According to Richard J. Fazzio, OSHA area director for Northeastern Massachusetts, in May of this year, OSHA was called on two consecutive days to two school construction sites in Malden, Mass., where Allstate Steel was using cranes to erect steel. The Forrestdale School construction site on Sylvan Street was inspected on May 3rd and the Linden School site on Salem Street was inspected on May 4th.
"What we found at these sites were construction cranes in desperate need of repairs," said Fazzio. "The employees on these construction sites were being exposed to extremely hazardous situations, since neither one of those machines should have been in service. What makes the situation particularly disturbing is that this company was previously cited for defects on a least one of these cranes last year and agreed to correct the problems, but apparently failed to do so."
Therefore, Fazzio noted, Allstate Steel Corp. is being cited for the following alleged safety violations:
FORRESTDALE SCHOOL SITE INSPECTION:
One alleged WILLFUL violation, including a proposed penalty of $38,500 for failing to ensure that deficient or defective parts noted on a Grove 80 ton crane during a commercial safety inspection that took place on December 11, 1999 were repaired or replaced before continued use. Of the 14 deficiencies noted in the December 11, 1999 inspection, 7 were still present on May 3, 2000.
One alleged REPEAT violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $1,800 for failing to furnish the Grove 80 ton crane with an operators manual at the worksite prior to operating the crane; and failure to maintain a record of the dates and results of monthly inspections of the crane. [The company was previously cited for similar violations in citations issued on June 17 & 18, 1997 with respect to another school construction site in West Springfield, Mass.]
Five alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $5,100 for: failing to ensure that defective crane rigging equipment was removed from service; failing to ensure clear visibility from all windows in the cab of the crane; failing to provide antiskid surfaces on all platforms and walkways on the crane; failing to ensure that the crane was provided with a fire extinguisher; and failing to obtain the manufacturer's written approval before making modifications to the crane.
LINDEN SCHOOL SITE INSPECTION:
One alleged WILLFUL violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $38,500 for failing to ensure that deficient of defective parts noted on a Yellow 20 Ton P&H crane during a commercial safety inspection that took place on December 11, 1999 were repaired or replaced before continued use.
One alleged REPEAT violation, including a proposed penalty of $1,800 for failing to furnish the P&H 20 Ton crane with an operators manual at the worksite prior to operating the crane; and failure to maintain a record of the dates and results of monthly inspections of the crane. [The company was previously cited for similar violations in citations issued on June 17 & 18, 1997 with respect to another school construction site in West Springfield, Mass.]
Five alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $5,700 for: failing to ensure that defective rigging equipment was removed from service; failing to ensure that all special warnings or instructions were posted in that the controls were not labeled and load rating chart was not valid; failing to ensure that crane fuel filler pipe was located so as not to allow spill or overflow to run into the engine, and failure to provide the crane with a fire extinguisher; failing to obtain the manufacturer's written approval before making modifications to the crane; and failing to ensure that anti-two-blocking safety device was operational on the crane.
Fazzio stressed that the use of unsafe cranes on construction sites is extremely dangerous because of the possibility that, during a lift, a heavy load of steel or other material could come crashing down at any moment due to the unexpected failure of the crane or one of its components.
"That this employer would continue to use these cranes on construction jobs after being informed by expert inspectors that they were unsafe is totally unacceptable," he said. "Such actions exhibit a total disregard for worker safety."
Fazzio urged Essex and Middlesex county employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Methuen. 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 repeat violation is defined by OSHA as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found. 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.
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.
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