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Saturday, July 21, 2012

OSHA cites Bloomfield NJ contractor for fall hazards - $89,110

Diana Cortez
OSHA Area Director
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Allied Brothers Construction Inc. of Bloomfield, N.J., for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at a Montebello, N.Y., work site. The contractor faces a total of $89,100 in proposed fines. OSHA's Tarrytown Area Office opened an inspection of the residential construction site on Ryan Mansion Drive in February after receiving reports of fall hazards.

"What we found at this work site were hazards unacceptably similar to those cited during prior inspections at the employer's other sites," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown. "It's clear that this employer must take effective action to enhance worker safety and eliminate such potentially deadly hazards at all of its work sites."

OSHA found employees exposed to falls of up to 13 feet while working without protection atop roofs, and while accessing and exiting roofs using ladders that did not extend at least 3 feet above the landing for proper stability. Allied Brothers Construction also allowed its employees to work without first receiving necessary training to recognize and avoid such hazards. Between 2007 and 2012, OSHA cited this company for similar hazards at work sites in New Milford, Oradell, Patterson, Rutherford and Upper Saddle River, N.J. As a result, OSHA issued has citations in the current case with $79,200 in proposed fines for four repeat violations. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility within the last five years.

OSHA also has issued citations with $9,900 in fines for three serious violations involving an improperly rigged fall arrest system, an unguarded belt and pulley on a compressor, and the use of a defective ladder. 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.

In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a campaign to provide employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. 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 on fall protection standards is available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

"In 2010, there were more than 250 fall fatalities in construction in this country. Such deaths are preventable," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "There are three key steps to preventing falls: plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment and train everyone to use the equipment safely. Failure to follow these steps can result in deadly or disabling injuries to workers."

Allied Brothers Construction Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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