A New Jersey contractor with a record of federal fall-protection safety violations has been cited again for work at a state train station—this time, leaving the company with a $69,300 fine and a place in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The citations against Beno Stucco Systems of Rochelle Park, NJ, involve construction of high-level train platforms at NJ Transit’s Somerville Train Station. The citations stem from a November 2010 inspection launched as part of a local Occupational Safety and Health Administration emphasis program on fall hazards.
The case is the company’s ninth with OSHA since 2002—a record that has now classified the company as a “severe violator” by OSHA standards.
"Beno Stucco Systems' refusal to implement proper fall protections reflects a careless approach to workplace safety, leaving workers at risk of serious injury and possible death," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's area office in Avenel, NJ. "The company must take immediate steps to eliminate these hazards."
Adrianna Benco, of Beno Stucco, said Tuesday (Jan. 11) that the company would appeal the citations, which she called “very, very ambiguous.”
The company was issued four repeat violations with a penalty of $64,680 and one serious violation with a penalty of $4,620.
The repeat violations accuse the company of failing to:
· Fully plank scaffold platforms;
· Erect scaffolds on a firm foundation;
· Provide a fall protection system; and
· Properly brace scaffolds with cross braces.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction-related industries.
A repeat violation is issued when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation at any other facility in federal enforcement states within five years.
The company was also cited with a serious violation for allegedly failing to conduct frequent and regular inspections of the jobsite. A serious citation reflects a “substantial probability" that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
According to OSHA records, Beno Stucco currently has three other open cases with the agency:
· Two serious and two repeat violations and a $12,000 fine from 2009;
· A repeat violation and $2,500 fine from 2008; and
· One serious and two repeat violations and a $7,000 fine from 2007.
Records also show that the company has two closed cases from 2007 (four serious and one repeat violation and a total fine of $7,500); one closed case from 2006 (four serious violations and a $3,120 fine); one from 2005; and one from 2002.
Most of the cases involve fall protection.
The company was founded in 2001.
Severe Violator Enforcement
Initiated in June 2010, OSHA’s SVEP focuses on what the agency calls “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the case before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.