OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Newport Classic Homes-Apartment Division of Grapevine, Texas, and Castillo Co. of Cleburne, Texas, for safety violations at a North Richland Hills apartment construction site and has proposed penalties totaling $90,630.
Newport Classic Homes-Apartment Division, the owner and prime contractor of the North Richland Hills apartment construction site, was cited for $77,400 in proposed penalties. Castillo Co., the subcontractor, was cited for $13,230.
The alleged violations were discovered during an unscheduled inspection conducted on Oct. 26 at the apartment construction site where bricklayers working for Castillo Co., had been working on scaffolds over 20 feet high with no fall protection. OSHA's scaffold standards require that scaffolds over 10 feet in height be provided with fall protection.
"This work site is no stranger to OSHA's enforcement of the scaffold safety requirements," said Dean Wingo, OSHA area director in Fort Worth. On Sept. 18, bricklayers worked on scaffolds with no fall protection and two weeks later, even after OSHA had issued Newport Classic Homes citations for violating safety standards, the bricklayers were again working without fall protection.
"Prime contractors have overall responsibility for compliance with the requirements of OSHA's construction standards for all work performed on their work sites," said Wingo.
Castillo Co. was cited for 15 serious violations of safety standards. 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.
Newport Classic Homes-Apartment Division was cited for two willful and 11 serious violations. The alleged violations include:
failure to ensure scaffolds were inspected by a competent person before each work shift;
failure to ensure bricklayers working on scaffolds over 10 feet in height were provided with fall protection;
failure to ensure bricklayers were protected from falling objects by use of hard hats and toe boards;
failure to ensure a pole scaffold was designed by a qualified person and built to the requirements for a pole scaffold;
failure to ensure all platforms were at least 18 inches wide;
failure to ensure platform planking was properly positioned and in good condition;
failure to ensure bricklayers were provided with an adequate ladder for access; and
failure to ensure damaged scaffold components were replaced.
The first two violations were determined to be willful and the others were classified as serious. A willful violation is one committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act. OSHA issues willful citations when it believes that the employer knew what specific safeguards were required to protect workers yet apparently elected not to provide them.
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 1-800-321-6742.
Newport Classic Homes-Apartment Division and Castillo Company have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to elect to comply with them or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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