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TX Firm Accused of Serious Fall Hazards

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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A commercial and residential concrete contractor in central Texas is facing $46,000 in federal penalties for allegedly allowing employees to work at heights without fall protection.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wolff Construction LP of Belton, TX, for nine serious safety violations. OSHA inspected a company work site in San Marcos, TX, in October 2012 following a complaint that workers were erecting concrete steel forms at heights of up to 15 feet without required fall protection equipment.

Wolff Construction
Photos: Wolff Construction

Wolff Construction was accused of nine serious violations and fined $46,000.

Company officials did not respond Tuesday (March 5) to a request for comment.

Founded in 1964, the third-generation, family-owned company has been cited only once by OSHA in 10 years. That violation was not considered serious and carried no monetary penalty.

Multiple Hazards Cited

In this case, OSHA said Wolff Construction had failed to:

  • Provide required personal protective equipment for employees working at six feet or higher;
  • Train employees working on the leading edge of elevated surfaces in fall protection;
  • Ensure rigging equipment was inspected;
  • Ensure work areas were clear of debris;
  • Use safe lifting practices with an all-terrain forklift; and
  • Guard reinforcing steel to eliminate impalement hazards.

A serious violation reflects a substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"A lack of fall protection means workers are one slip or step away from deadly or disabling falls," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Employers must provide effective fall protection for their workers and ensure these workers are trained to recognize and address fall hazards."

Wolff Construction

Founded in 1964, the family-owned company in central Texas serves the residential, commercial and government construction sectors.

Stop Falls

OSHA has created a Stop Falls 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 standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems, be in use when workers perform construction activities six feet or more above the next lower level.

Wolff Construction has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Concrete; Enforcement; Fall protection; Government contracts; Health and safety; OSHA; Residential Construction

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