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Firm Fined for Shock Hazards

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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A West Virginia contractor accepted 10 federal citations and fines for allegedly ignoring fall and electrocution hazards, putting its workers at risk, according to authorities.

M&M Construction LLC, d/b/a Michael Jones Contracting, reportedly allowed workers to carry aluminum extension ladders and erect scaffolding near lines powered with 2,400 volts at an eight-unit apartment jobsite in Fairmont, WV.


A stick-man representation from a 2005 NIOSH investigation shows how a mason was electrocuted while working on scaffolding set too close to energized lines. Authorities say electrocution is the No. 2 cause of death in construction.

Workers at the jobsite were also allegedly exposed to falls of up to 19 feet while removing old shingles for the installation of a new metal roof. Eye protection hazards and worn or frayed electrical cords also accounted for some of the violations, authorities announced.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two willful and eight serious violations, carrying $46,400 in proposed fines.

A willful violation reflects "intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health." A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

An OSHA spokesperson said the employer did not contest the fines, rather M&M Construction accepted all violations as issued, with a modest penalty reduction of 25 percent.

Putting Workers at Risk

"Michael Jones Contracting failed to properly protect its employees at this work site, putting them in danger of a tragic fall or electrocution," said Prentice Cline, OSHA's area director in Charleston. "Every employer has a responsibility to provide employees with a safe and healthful workplace. Anything less is unacceptable."

OSHA opened its case on Nov. 17, 2015. The citations were issued April 29.

The company owner did not immediately return a call Monday (May 23) seeking comment on the case.

Electrocution Hazards

Electrocution is the No. 2 cause of death in construction, killing hundreds of workers each year, according to OSHA.

Yet, employers may not be fully aware of the dangers and/or may not adequately train and protect their workers, authorities say.


Tagged categories: Citations; Hazards; Health and safety; Maintenance + Renovation; Metals; North America; OSHA; Roofing contractors; Roofing materials; Scaffolding

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