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Region 2 News Release:   NY 178
August 31, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
PHONE: 212-337-2319

OSHA INSPECTS RENOVATION WORK AT OLD POST OFFICE BUILDING IN OLD SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO; CITES 11 CONTRACTORS FOR $119,000 IN ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited 11 construction firms working on the federal post office and court house in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, and proposed penalties totaling $119,209 against the firms for 12 alleged repeat violations, 59 alleged serious violations, and 13 alleged other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards. The companies each have 15 working days from receipt to contest the citations.

According to OSHA area director Jose A. Carpena, the action results from an investigation conducted from February 12 through July 30 after OSHA received a complaint that workers engaged in renovation of the old post office building at Comercio and Tanca Streets were working without fall protection on a sloping roof about 40 feet above ground. The investigation disclosed that the work was being carried out by Trataros Construction, Inc., 300 Tanca Street, Old San Juan, and ten subcontractors.

OSHA cited Trataros for three alleged repeat violations, carrying a total proposed penalty of $14,800, for failure to provide fall protection on the roof, failure to properly brace scaffolds, and failure to have a hazard communication program to inform workers about hazardous substances in the workplace. A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Trataros Construction was previously cited for these conditions in February, 1997 in Newington, Connecticut; May, 1997 in Florida, Puerto Rico; and May, 1997, in Groton Connecticut.

Additional repeat violations were alleged against Inner City Carpentry, Inc., also based in Old San Juan; Deya Elevator Service, Inc., San Juan; C&H Contracting Professionals, Lake City, Florida; and Ponce Marble, Inc., in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Carrying proposed penalties totaling $28,000, the other contractors' alleged repeat violations included failure to properly ground electrical equipment and failure to train employees in the danger of exposure to silica and other hazardous substances in the workplace, as well as fall-protection and scaffolding violations. The employers had previously been cited in Mamaroneck, New York, Baymon and Carolina, Puerto Rico, and other locations, dating back to June, 1994.

Five other employers at the site were cited for alleged serious violations:

Lighton Industries, Inc. Old San Juan
Rio Piedras Painters Contractors, Inc. San Juan
O'Brien Kreitzberg Old San Juan
Standard Refrigeration, Inc. Guaynabo
Fiol & Garcia Carolina

The alleged serious violations for which the 10 employers were cited included:

  • permitting mobile scaffolds to be moved while occupied by employees;
  • failure to protect employees against impalement on steel reinforcement bar protruding from concrete work;
  • failure to cover floor openings;
  • failure to provide electrical equipment with ground-fault circuit interrupters;
  • failure to provide training in respiratory protection;
  • using ladders for loads heavier than their designed capacity;
  • failure to guard live electrical parts against accidental contact.

The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $71,689.

OSHA also cited the firms for alleged other-than-serious violations including using ladders for other than their designed purposes, not making an initial determination of lead exposure, not providing strain relief fittings on electrical cords, and failure to lock the wheels of mobile scaffolds. Proposed penalties totaled $4,720. One employer, Churchville Tile & Marble of Forest Hill, Maryland, received a citation for using a scaffold without a baseplate, an alleged other-than-serious violation with no monetary penalty.

A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Puerto Rico area office, located at the BBV Plaza Building, 1510 F.D. Roosevelt Avenue, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, telephone (787) 277-1560.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.


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