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Fall hazards net roofing contractor over $1.5 million in OSHA fines
A Florida roofing contractor faces penalties of more than $1.5 million for 14 safety violations and has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Great White Construction was cited for failing to protect workers from dangerous falls. OSHA observed employees removing shingles from the roof of a multistory building without the use of proper fall protection equipment. They wore harnesses, but were not tied off. A second inspection at a separate site observed employees working under similar conditions. OSHA said the company has an "extensive prior history of violations," which resulted in 11 separate willful citations. OSHA said it has investigated the company 12 times since 2012, resulting in 22 citations. "In the past five years, Great White Construction repeated violations has demonstrated indifference towards the safety of their employees. Story by Kristen Beckman from Business Insurance.com
Aluminum Services LLC Racks Up $1.9 Million in OSHA Penalties
An aluminum manufacturing company is facing nearly $2 million in fines after OSHA discovered 51 violations. OSHA cited Aluminum Services LLC finding that two employees were hospitalized as a result of two separate incidents. "Aluminum Shapes extensive list of violations reflects a workplace that does not prioritize worker safety and health," says Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator. "The company can more effectively protect its workers by implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system." The first worker experienced chemical burns after entering a tank containing dehydrated sodium hydroxide, aluminum oxide and decomposed metal. Despite employees reporting they were experiencing chemical burns to their skin, the workers were directed to re-enter the tank, suffering further injuries. The second incident occurred when a machine operator suffered a broken pelvis after being caught between the unguarded moving parts of a metal fabrication machine. Story by Stefanie Valentic from EHSToday.com.
OSHA fines spike on penalty overhaul
OSHA was directed to revisit their civil monetary penalties by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 allowed OSHA to increase its fines by up to 78%. From Aug. 2 to Dec. 31, 2016, the average penalty for serious violations increased to $5,087 from $3,285. In January, OSHA again adjusted these penalties based on the Consumer Price Index, meaning that the maximum fine faced by employers for willful and repeat OSHA violations rose to $126,749 while the maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious citations increased to $12,675. To read the entire story by Gloria Gonzalez from Business Insurance.com click here.
Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
This change in OSHA's requirements will improve safety for workers. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will "nudge" employers to focus on safety. And more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer's bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses. What does the rule require? The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries (which includes construction) must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
OSHA Civil Penalties Set To Increase In August
The Department of Labor has announced a pair of interim final rules that allow OSHA to adjust its civil penalties to account for inflation. The first rule pertains to the majority of civil penalties, while the second rule covers penalties associated with the H-2B temporary guest worker program. DOL also published a fact sheet on the rules. OSHA's maximum penalty for serious violations will increase to $12,471 from $7,000. The agency's top penalty for willful or repeated violations will jump to $124,709 from $70,000. OSHA's maximum penalties have not increased since 1990. "Civil penalties should be a credible deterrent that influences behavior far and wide," Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a press release. "Adjusting our penalties to keep pace with the cost of living can lead to significant benefits for workers and can level the playing field [for] responsible employers who should not have to compete with those who don't follow the law."
A 500 foot crane plummeted onto a Lower Manhattan street on February 5, 2016,
A huge construction crane being lowered to safety in a snow squall plummeted onto a Lower Manhattan street on February 5, 2016, killing a Wall Street worker and leaving three people hurt by debris that scattered as the rig's lengthy boom fell, officials said. The mobile crane's boom landed across an intersection, smashed several car roofs and stretched much of a block after the accident at a historic building about 10 blocks north of the World Trade Center. "It felt like a bomb," a woman told CBS New York station WCBS-TV. To see the video of the crane crash and to read more about this CBS/AP online news article please click here.
OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program helps nearly 30,000 employers
OSHA's On-site Consultation Program provided free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to 27,871 small businesses in 2015. The program recognizes most employers want to keep their workers safe, smaller businesses often lack the resource of an on-site safety professional. Last year, 87 percent of consultations were conducted at businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. Priority is given to high-hazard worksites in industries such as manufacturing and construction. In 2015, consultants identified and helped employers eliminate more than 140,000 total hazards, protecting an estimated 3.5 million workers from possible injury, illness or death. Visit OSHA's website to find the local On-site Consultation Program office in your state or territory.
New Hampshire contractor faces $152K in fines for repeatedly exposing workers to fatal falls
Following a complaint of unsafe conditions at a High & Dry Roofing work site, OSHA inspectors found that employees were working at heights over 20 feet without fall protection and proper ladder safeguards. Inspectors returned two days later and found the same hazards existed. OSHA cited owner Michael Cahoon with ten violations, proposing penalties of $152,460. Violations include setting scaffolding too close to a live electrical line, failing to provide workers with fall protection, hard hats and eye protection, and failing to safeguard workers from contact with operating parts of an air compressor. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. For more information, read the news release.
An employee inside a 12-foot-deep trench was killed when trench wall collapsed.
An employee working inside a 12-foot-deep trench was killed when an adjacent trench wall collapsed and buried him. His employer had been working under contract for the Department of Transportation. OSHA issued citations for two willful violations for lack of cave-in protection. Proposed penalties total $140,000. The Employer was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program* due to the willful violations and the company's extensive history of violations dating back to the early 1970s. Read the news release for more information.
Researchers conclude that OSHA citations, penalties reduce workplace injuries
A new study from the Institute for Work and Health concludes that citations with penalties from inspections reduce workplace injuries. Researchers performed a systematic review to determine the effectiveness of the enforcement of occupational safety and health regulation in creating incentives for firms to focus on safety and health issues. While mixed evidence was found on the effectiveness of the general threat of an inspection, the study found strong evidence that actual citations and penalties reduce the frequency or severity of injuries.
Labor report shows drop in Hispanic worker fatalities, but rising deaths in construction
Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the rate of fatal work injuries in 2014 was unchanged from 2013, but the total number of fatalities grew, reflecting an overall increase in employment. 789 Hispanic workers died on the job in 2014, down from 817 in 2013. Meanwhile, the number of fatalities grew in the construction and oil & gas industries. For more information click here.
Three employees fell 19 feet and were hospitalized when the scaffold platform broke.
The incident occurred while the employees performed roofing work on a ladder-jack scaffold. An inspection by OSHA found the spruce plank used as the platform could not support the weight imposed on it by the workers, was not graded for use in a scaffold, and was clearly marked on its invoice as not for scaffold use. OSHA citing the contractor for three willful, one repeat and five serious violations with a total $294,500 in proposed fines. For more information click here.
Fastrack Erectors fined $511,000 for failing to provide fall protection in worker fatality
An apprentice ironworker fell more than 30 feet to his death while standing on a steel girder on a building under construction in Kansas City. On the job for only a few weeks, the 22-year-old was not provided fall protection by his employer, Fastract Erectors Inc., a subcontractor on the project. OSHA investigated the fatality and cited the company with seven willful and three serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $511,000.
OSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction. To read more information click here.
OSHA finds willful and serious violations in tower collapse that resulted in deaths of 2 cell tower workers
Following the death of two workers from the collapse of a cell tower they were dismantling March 25, OSHA has cited Wireless Horizon Inc. for two willful and four serious safety violations. The tower technicians, ages 25 and 38, were using a load-lifting gin pole attached to the side of the tower with a wire rope sling. The sling failed, causing the gin pole to fall and bring the tower down with it. Both workers fell to the ground during the collapse. OSHA placed the St. Peters, Missouri-based company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program following the incident and proposed penalties of $134,400.
Pennsylvania contractor cited for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards
OSHA has cited JJ Stucco and Stone Inc. for three willful and three repeat safety violations.
The inspection was initiated in response to a referral by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections due to an imminent
threat to worker health and safety at the site. The investigation found workers exposed to fall hazards while applying stucco to
the exterior of a residential construction site. Proposed penalties total $235,700.
More than $460,000 in fines proposed against contractor for fall and scaffolding hazards
Painting & Decorating Inc. was cited by OSHA for repeat fall and scaffolding hazards following an inspection of a work site in Manhasset, N.Y. The painting and stucco contractor has a long history of fall protection and scaffold safety violations and now faces an additional $460,350 in OSHA fines. OSHA's Long Island Area Office opened an inspection at the work site on March 31 under its local emphasis program aimed at preventing falls in the construction industry. Read the news release for a full list of citations.
Roofing contactor cited for violations following worker electrocution
OSHA has cited Tim Graboski Roofing Inc. of Delray Beach for four safety violations, including two willful, following the death of a worker. On June 27, a worker was electrocuted at a residential jobsite in Boca Raton when his employer directed him to reposition a metal extension ladder in close proximity to overhead electrical power lines that had not been de-energized, grounded or guarded. Read the news release for a full list of citations.
Construction superintendent sentenced for fatal North Strabane OSHA violation
A construction site superintendent who covered up a safety violation that led to the 2009 death of a worker in Washington County will spend six months on home detention, a federal judge ruled today. Robert Christopher Kennedy, 60, of Rapid City, S.D., pleaded guilty today to willfully violating an Occupational Safety and Health Act regulation that led to the death of Carl Beck, 29, of Butler. Beck was helping install a roof on a motel on Meadowlands Boulevard in North Strabane when he fell 42 feet.
New compliance factsheets provide information for preventing fatal falls in residential construction
OSHA has three new fact sheets offering information on reducing falls during residential construction. The fact sheets focus on Installing Roof Trusses*, Installing Tile Roofs* and Roof Repair*. They include information on the hazards involved in working on roofs, the proper use of ladders, scaffolds, aerial lifts and Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) such as body harnesses, lanyards and lifelines. These fact sheets are just a few of the training and compliance assistance materials available in many formats on OSHA's Residential Fall Protection Web page to help the residential construction industry comply with the new residential construction fall protection directive. They include a slide presentation that describes safety methods for preventing injuries and deaths from falls, and explains techniques currently used by employers during various stages of construction. These techniques involve the use of conventional fall protection systems including safety nets, guardrails, and PFAS.
Asbestos contractor sentenced to six years in prison for violating Clean Air Act and lying to OSHA
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Sept. 22 that asbestos contractor Keith Gordon-Smith, owner of Gordon-Smith
Contracting, convicted of multiple counts of violating the Clean Air Act and lying to OSHA inspectors, was sentenced to
72 months in prison and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution. DOJ stated that the defendant caused employees of Gordon-Smith
Contracting Inc. to improperly remove asbestos during the partial demolition of a building on the site of the former Genesee
Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.
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