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Thursday, August 30, 2012

OSHA cites Brick, NJ-based contractor for continuing to expose workers to falls and other hazards at Secaucus work site

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Brick-based La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc. for nine safety and health, including two repeat, violations at a Secaucus work site. OSHA's March investigation was initiated in response to an imminent danger complaint alleging employees were working on the fifth level of a supported scaffold without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $74,830.

The repeat safety violations, with a $53,900 penalty, involve failing to provide safe access to a scaffold and ensure workers were not exposed to a 35-foot fall while working on an unguarded scaffold. A repeat violation occurs when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for similar violations in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

Six serious safety and health violations, with a $20,930 penalty, include failing to properly store propane tanks; ensure a competent person inspected a scaffold before employees worked on it; establish and implement a written respiratory protection program for workers required to wear respirators, including medical evaluations and respiratory protection training; develop and implement an effective written hazard communication program for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals, including crystalline silica; provide chemical hazard training to employees working with hazardous chemicals; and maintain material safety data sheets. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from dangerous tasks without proper safety measures.

"This employer continues to jeopardize the safety and health of its workers by failing to correct these hazards, which is unacceptable," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so."

The company also has received one other-than-serious violation, with no penalty, for failure to provide respirator fit testing and evaluate employees for safe use of powered industrial truck. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc. employed 34 workers at the Secaucus work site and has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a campaign to provide employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and more than 250 workers were killed. OSHA's fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More detailed information is available in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

Read more about scaffolding
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The willful violations carry a $92,400 penalty and are due to a lack of fall protection for employees working on a scaffold that was not fully planked. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary ...
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The serious violations, with $36,960 in penalties, include failing to protect workers from fall and impalement hazards, ensure scaffold platforms were laid correctly, provide proper ladder rung construction, make sure guardrails...
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For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.