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OSHA FINES TARPON SPRINGS CONTRACTOR $79,500 FOLLOWING INSPECTION OF JACKSONVILLE BRIDGE PROJECT
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Tarpon Springs, Fla.-based Damalos & Sons, Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $79,500 for safety and health violations found during an inspection of a Jacksonville bridge re-painting project.
The company was cited for two repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $60,000 for failing to properly monitor employees with elevated blood-lead levels and for failing to give employees written blood test results.
"Our inspectors found that workers on this paint removal and re-paint job were exposed to dust with more than 50 times the permissible level of lead," said James D. Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director.
Borders explained that, over time, lead can accumulate in a worker's body and cause irreversible damage to their brain, central nervous system and other parts of the body. Even a short-term dose of lead exposure can adversely affect the brain. "That's why one of OSHA's national goals is to reduce employee exposure to lead," Borders said.
"In Florida we also have a local emphasis program to reduce fall hazards because too many workers are killed or injured due to falls at construction sites." The two areas of emphasis, according to the Jacksonville area director, may explain why an OSHA inspector driving by the site noticed some unsafe practices that exposed workers to fall hazards and possible lead exposures. "Our inspection began as a result of the inspector's referral," added Borders.
In addition to the repeat citations, the agency issued five serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $19,500 for failing to:
|-conduct quarterly air monitoring to determine employees' level of exposure to lead;
-provide medical surveillance to employees when lead exposures reached a certain level;
-provide employees with clean personal protective equipment daily when lead exposures exceeded permissible levels;
-assure that employees wore proper fall protection when working from aerial lifts, and
-provide proper guardrail systems.
A repeat violation occurs when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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.
Damalos & Sons, Inc., has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The company, which employs approximately 40 workers, had eight workers at the bridge site.
This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Jacksonville area office located at 1851 Executive Center Drive, Suite 227, Jacksonville, FL 32207; telephone (904)232-2895.
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