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October 20th, 2016

Philadelphia Construction Contractor Gets OSHA Fines for Fall Hazards (Oct. 2016)

Philly Contractor Cited for Fall Hazards on Construction Site in New Jersey

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued multiple violations to a Philadelphia based construction contractor. The fines totaled over $105,000 and included one serious violation (7 issues) and one repeat violation (2 issues). A serious violation is issued in cases where the work hazard can cause an accident that would likely result in death or serious physical harm. A repeat violation is issued in cases where the employer has been cited for the same or substantially similar conduct within the last 5 years.

According to a recent OSHA news release, the violations were based on alleged fall hazards and failure to comply with specific OSHA requirements. See Philadelphia contractor exposes workers to fall hazards again, this time at a South Jersey construction worksite (October 17, 2016).

Related: OSHA Work Safety Violation Penalties Increase by 80% After August 1, 2016

Repeat Violation, OSHA Violations Alleged

29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13): Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure.

According to OSHA, workers were exposed to fall hazards greater than 12 feet while working on the top plates of the structure’s outer framed walls without use of any fall protection equipment. The contractor had previously been cited by OSHA 1 month prior.

29 CFR 1926.503(a)(1): The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.

According to OSHA, the employer failed to provide any fall hazard training, even after having received an OSHA violation for similar conduct one month prior.

Total amount for these violations: $38,000.

Serious Violation, OSHA Violations Alleged

29 CFR 1926.20(b)(2): Such programs shall provide for frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials, and equipment to be made by competent persons designated by the employers.

According to OSHA, the employer failed to have a competent person (safety manager) to conduct safety inspections of the site.

29 CFR 1926.100(a): Employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets.

According to OSHA, a worker was not wearing a helmet or any type of head protection while working on roof truss placement and when working underneath other workers who were using hand tools and nail guns.

29 CFR 1926.1053(b)(1): When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet (.9 m) above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access; or, when such an extension is not possible because of the ladder’s length, then the ladder shall be secured at its top to a rigid support that will not deflect, and a grasping device, such as a grabrail, shall be provided to assist employees in mounting and dismounting the ladder. In no case shall the extension be such that ladder deflection under a load would, by itself, cause the ladder to slip off its support.

According to OSHA, workers were exposed to fall hazards when using an aluminum extension ladder with side rails that did not extend 3 feet above the upper landing surface.

Total amount for these violations: $67,000.

For more information, visit our PA & NJ work accident law library.