OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited eight contractors for 59 safety violations at a Fort Worth, Texas, luxury apartment construction site at 1401 W. 7th St. and has proposed penalties totaling $205,750, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.
Phoenix Contractors, Inc., the general contractor for the site, was cited for $75,000 in proposed penalties. KMW Masonry, Inc., a masonry subcontractor, was cited for $52,000. Multi Building Incorporated, a building framing and siding subcontractor, was cited for $34,000.
Phoenix was cited for 10 serious violations of safety standards, KMW was cited for 11 serious violations and Multi-Building was cited for three serious violations. The alleged violations were first discovered on April 22, 1999 during an unscheduled inspection when bricklayers and framers were working on scaffolds and painters were working on apartment balconies with no fall protection. OSHA's standards require that fall protection be provided for employees working on a scaffold over 10 feet in height and for employees working on a balcony where a fall of 6 feet or more could occur.
A serious violation is 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.
OSHA had previously inspected the site on Nov. 2, 1998 and found safety violations involving fall protection for employees on scaffolds and unprotected wall openings. Citations were issued to Phoenix, KMW, and Multi Building following that investigation, however, conditions were not improved. In addition to the serious violations discovered on April 22, Phoenix was cited for one repeat safety violation and KMW was cited for two repeat violations. Also, Phoenix, KMW and Multi Building were each cited for one willful violation.
A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition. 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. OSHA issues willful violations when it believes the employer knew what specific safeguards were required to protect workers, yet apparently elected not to provide them.
Five other subcontractors, FM Masonry, Joaquin Tovarez, MMLR Services, Manuel Suchil, and Elmer's Painting and Drywall, were cited for a total of 29 serious violations of safety standards.
OSHA's Region VI, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana, has developed a local emphasis program to address unsafe construction work sites, particularly those with obvious fall hazards and violations.
"There's been a significant increase in construction workplace fatalities in the Fort Worth area," said Dean Wingo, OSHA Fort Worth area director. "There were nine construction workers killed in calendar year 1997 compared to 19 construction-related deaths in calendar year 1998." Construction related falls from heights continue to be the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the Fort Worth OSHA area.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the nearest OSHA office. OSHA's toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is (800) 321-6742.
Each contractor has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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