A Connecticut-based contractor faces $180,950 in proposed fines for allegedly failing to protect its employees against falls, drowning, and other hazards, according to an April 6 announcement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company was rebuilding a bridge over the Housatonic River in the Falls Village section of Canaan, CT.
OSHA found in a December 2008 inspection that the contractor had 13 alleged willful and serious violations of construction safety standards. OSHA defines a willful violation as “one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.”
The OSHA inspection found that employees were exposed to falls of up to 43 feet into the river while working without fall protection. Workers were also exposed to drowning hazards due to lack of life jackets, ring buoys, and a lifesaving skiff, which are required when employees work over water.
OSHA issued Brunalli Construction (Southington, CT) three willful citations for the fall, drowning, and ladder hazards, totaling $147,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issued $33,950 in proposed fines for ten serious citations for additional fall-related hazards, puncture or laceration hazards from a damaged cable guardrail system, no hardhats for employees exposed to overhead hazards, amputation and laceration hazards from unguarded grinders, and no trained emergency responders on site.
Once a company receives citations and proposed penalties, it has 15 days to comply, request, and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.