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Thursday, November 8, 2012

OSHA cites New York contractor for exposing workers to fall and other hazards

RCP Services Inc. of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for nine safety violations while performing concrete work at a residential apartment complex on Big Island Drive in Jacksonville. An inspection was initiated in August after an OSHA inspector observed employees working without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $47,000.

One willful violation is for allowing employees to work on elevated surfaces without fall protection. The citation carries a $35,000 penalty. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Eight serious violations involve exposed and protruding rebar, a lack of eye and face protection, using a welding cable that required repair, using a damaged extension cord, exposing workers to falling objects, not maintaining fire extinguishing equipment and having unprotected holes in the floor that could cause workers to trip or fall. The citations carry $12,000 in penalties. 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.

"Falls are the leading cause of death for workers in residential construction," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "Employers must take responsibility for ensuring that workers have and wear proper equipment at all times."

OSHA has created a fall prevention Web page – – 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.

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are working with trade associations, labor unions, employers, universities, community and faith-basedorganizations, and consulates to provide employers and workers – especially vulnerable, low-literacy workers – with education and training on common-sense fall prevention equipment and strategies that save lives.

RCP Services specializes in tunnel form construction. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Jon L.Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 3 decades theLaw Offices of Jon L. Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.comhave been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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