Some of the most serious workplace injuries occur because of falls from scaffolding. Those construction site injuries result in major workers' compensation cases.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Paterson-based F&G Sons Contractors Inc., doing business as F&G Contractors Inc., with five repeat and one serious violation, including scaffolding and fall hazards, found at a Kinnelon work site. OSHA's October 2012 investigation was initiated in response to an imminent danger complaint and resulted in $70,840 in penalties.
The repeat violations, with a $67,760 penalty, include an unsecured scaffold missing cross braces, exposing workers to scaffold collapse and failing to fully plank and provide guardrails or other means of fall protection on scaffolds. A repeat violation is issued 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. Similar violations were cited in 2009 and 2010.
Because of the hazards and the violations cited, F&G has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
The serious violation, with a $3,080 penalty, was cited for failing to brace the bottom of a pump-jack scaffold that exposed workers to a scaffold collapse. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"F&G continues to put workers at risk by choosing not to implement safety measures that would prevent serious injuries to their workers," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "It is the employer's responsibility to find and fix the hazard. OSHA will hold F&G accountable for failing to protect the safety of its workers."
OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
F&G Contractors Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Parsippany, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.