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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Serious Safety Hazards Results in $49,600 in Fines for Paterson NJ Contractor

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Paterson-based R.E. General Contractor LLC for alleged repeat and serious violations of occupational safety standards found while workers replaced a roof on a commercial building at 500 Grand St. in Paterson. The general contractor faces a total of $49,600 in proposed fines following a December 2012 imminent danger inspection by OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office.

Two repeat violations, with a $46,800 penalty, were cited for exposing workers to fall hazards of
approximately 50 feet while workers engaged in roofing work without fall protection in place. Workers also used an extension ladder that did not extend at least 3 feet above the upper landing surface. A repeat violation exists 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. OSHA cited similar violations in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

One serious violation, carrying a $2,800 fine, resulted from the failure to provide workers with hard hat protection while working near the forks of a material boom lift. A serious violation occurs 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.

"OSHA will not tolerate this company's continuous disregard for adequate fall protection," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers exposed to fall hazards are provided with the proper fall protection equipment, are trained in its use and wear it whenever a fall hazard is present."

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.

R.E. General Contractor LLC has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Hasbrouck Heights, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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