The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a New York masonry contractor for safety violations for the third consecutive year. Painting and Decorating Inc., of Ronkonkoma, has been cited for five alleged repeat violations of safety standards and faces a total of $120,750 in new fines.
The case began Jan. 23 when an OSHA inspector driving by a worksite in Forest Hills, N.Y., saw employees performing stucco work on a 13-foot-high scaffold without guardrails or a fall protection system.
The inspector also eventually found that the company:
• Had not fully planked the scaffold
• Had not provided a ladder for workers to access the scaffold
• Had used makeshift devices to increase the scaffold's height
• Had not provided the workers with protective helmets
"The size of these fines reflects the gravity and recurring nature of these hazards, any one of which could have resulted in death or disabling injury for these workers," said OSHA area director Richard Mendelson.
"This is the fourth time in three years that this employer has been cited for substantially similar hazards and that is unacceptable. It's time for this employer to make safety a priority at all its jobsites."
OSHA issues repeat citations when an employer has been previously cited for substantially similar hazards and those citations have become final. In this case, OSHA cited Painting and Decorating Inc. in 2007 and 2008 at worksites in Kings Point and Great Neck, N.Y.
Painting and Decorating Inc. had 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Falls are the leading cause of occupational fatalities among contractors and a major area of OSHA enforcement.
Detailed information on scaffolding and fall protection is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/construction.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.