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OSHA News Release – Region 9
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 9 News Release: USDL-48
March 16, 2000
Contact: Deanne Amaden
PHONE: 415-975-4741 (U.S.)
GUAM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FINED $101,000 FOR REPEATEDLY VIOLATING WORKPLACE SAFETY RULES
SAN FRANCISCO --The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations against a Guam construction firm for numerous willful violations of federal safety and health standards despite previous OSHA citations for the same hazards.
OSHA delivered citations to R&C Corporation following a November 1999 OSHA inspection at the Pacific Islands Club, Phase 3 Expansion Project which confirmed that R&C Corporation employees, working as high as 16 feet above the ground, were not protected from falls.
"Failure to protect workers from falls from heights is one of the leading causes of construction work site deaths," said Leonard Limtiaco, director of the OSHA team which conducted the inspection of R&C Corporation. "OSHA will continue to focus on preventing falls and the other hazards which most frequently contribute to construction fatalities: electrical shocks, being struck by falling objects, and being crushed."
R&C Corporation received citations for two willful violations and one serious violation. The willful violations are for instances where R&C Corporation failed to provide fall protection from scaffold platforms and the building structure. In one case, workers applying plaster to the building structure worked along an unprotected scaffold platform 13 feet above the ground. In another, an employee, 16 feet above ground level, assisting in lifting a sanding machine up the structure was also without equipment to prevent a fall. The willful violations include penalties of $45,000 each.
The single serious violation against R&C Corporation is for failure to guard exposed reinforcing steel bars to prevent injuries to employees who fell onto them. The penalty is $2,000.
R&C Corporation employs approximately 126 employees on major construction projects worldwide. The $38-million dollar Pacific Islands Club addition entails working on a 26-story hotel tower. R&C Corporation has received several previous citations for failure to provide adequate fall protection from scaffolds and building structures. Since 1983, OSHA has cited R&C Corporation for 173 violations, including 17 citations for failure to provide fall protection from scaffolds and 12 citations for failure to provide fall protection from structures. Of the 29 fall protection citations issued to R&C Corporation there were 11 serious violations, 16 repeat violations and 2 willful violations.
"These types of cases are particularly frustrating," continued Limtiaco, "because the employer largely ignored previous OSHA efforts to encourage the correction of obviously hazardous conditions. By so doing, the employer knowingly put his employees at risk of death or serious injury."
OSHA issues a willful violation only in cases where an employer knew that a condition constituted a violation, or was aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to correct it. Serious citations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer either knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
An employer who receives citations from OSHA has 15 working days to request an informal conference or to file a notice of contest.
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