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Region 2 News Release: NY 218
November 29, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
PENNSYLVANIA PAINTING FIRM CITED BY OSHA IN BUFFALO BRIDGE FATALITY; $22,800 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Textar Painting Corporation, based in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and proposed penalties of $22,800 against the firm for six alleged serious violations of OSHA standards during its work on a bridge project near Buffalo, New York. The company has until December 13 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David E. Boyce, the action results from an investigation begun following a May 24 accident at the South Grand Island Bridge, which crosses the Niagara River between Tonowanda and Grand Island, New York. Employee Antonios Bahateridis, 51, of Upper Darby, was killed when he jumped from a bridge pier to a wooden platform below, crashed through the platform, and fell 28 feet to the ground. The firm was engaged in lead abatement and painting.
Textar is the second contractor to have workers fall while working on the Grand Island Bridges. Two employees of Dynamic Painting-Romano Enterprises were injured, one of them seriously, in falls in July and October, 1998, while working on the North Grand Island Bridge.
"These falls, and the potential for employee exposure to lead and silica while removing old paint, have led us to develop an initiative that targets inspections and outreach activity toward this industry," Boyce said. "We aim to reduce the hazards of falls and exposure to lead and silica for employees working on bridge renovation in Western New York."
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
- failure to provide ladders, stairing, ramps or other safe means of access between work levels with breaks in elevation greater than 19 inches;
- failure to provide fall protection on work surfaces higher than six feet;
- failure to provide anchorage points capable of supporting 5,000 pounds on fall-arrest systems;
- failure to limit free-fall distance on personal fall-arrest systems to six feet;
- failure to ensure that walking and working surfaces had the strength and structural integrity to support workers safely;
- failure to adhere to manufacturer's specifications on manlifts.
A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo area office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, New York, telephone (716) 684-3891.
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