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Repeat Fall Hazards Net $137K Fine

Thursday, November 17, 2016

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An Ohio highway construction company is facing $137,000 in federal fines for alleged repeat safety violations related to fall protection on highway bridges.

According to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, for the second time in two years, federal safety inspectors found Shelly & Sands Inc., of Zanesville, OH, exposing its workers to the serious and potentially fatal risk of falls.

According to the Department of Labor’s safety agency, the firm's workers were seen climbing over guardrails of an aerial lift onto a highway overpass at a Cambridge, OH, work site.

aerial lift to bridge
© iStock.com / asterix0597

OSHA regulations requires workers in an aerial lift to "always stand firmly on the floor of the basket" and not climb or sit on the edge of it; according to the citation, Shelly & Sands employees (not shown) were allegedly seen climbing off the lift onto bridge beams without fall protection.

Based on its Aug. 9 inspection, OSHA cited Shelly & Sands on Nov. 2 for two repeated safety violations and proposed penalties of $137,182.

A company representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday (Nov. 16).

20-Foot Fall Hazards

OSHA documents indicate that federal safety inspectors reportedly saw workers without fall protection climb off the aerial lift onto bridge beams 20 feet above Interstate 77 in Cambridge.

According to OSHA regulations, workers are required to “always stand firmly on the floor of the basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket or use planks, ladders, or other devices for a work position.”

During its investigation OSHA also observed workers installing walers, which are used to support construction forms under stress, while standing on false work with an unprotected side, exposing them to 17-foot falls.

The citations indicate that workers at the bridge construction site were seen standing on bridge beams without the use of fall protection while installing components of horizontal lifeline systems, exposing them to a 20-foot fall risk.

Employees were also observed walking nine feet out on a bridge beam before reaching an attachment point to the lifeline system, at a point on the bridge that exposed them to a nine-foot fall hazard.

OSHA standards require that employees on a walking or working surface with an unprotected side or edge six feet or more above a lower level must be protected from falls through guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems.

highway overpass
© iStock.com / ivanastar

OSHA standards also require that employees on a working surface with an otherwise unprotected side or six feet or more above a lower level must be protected from falls through guardrails or other means.

The company has 15 business days to comply or contest the citations.

Previous History

The agency notes that it now has found the company allowing employees to work without protective equipment twice in two years. In 2014, OSHA issued citations for similar violations at an Interstate 670 work site in Columbus.

Each repeat violation carries a proposed penalty of  $68,591.

“We were disheartened to find that Shelly & Sands management continues to allow workers to climb over guardrails and on top of beams without safety equipment to protect them from serious injury and death,” said Larry Johnson, area director of OSHA’s Columbus office.

“This company must take immediate action to protect workers on its job sites by providing training, procedures and protective equipment.”

OSHA statistics indicate that falls account for 40 percent of all work-related construction industry deaths. Fall protection also tops the list of the ten most frequently cited federal workplace safety violations in the United States, according to a recent analysis.

About the Company

Shelly & Sands Inc. and its affiliated companies—Mar-Zane Materials Division and Mar-Zane Laboratory in Zanesville; S&S Terminal in Rayland; and Kelly Paving Inc. in Williamstown, WV—serves eight major markets in three states and is said to be one of Ohio’s leading road paving companies.

Mar-Zane Materials has 23 asphalt plants and two concrete plants producing more than 3 million asphalt tons and more than 200,000 cubic yards of concrete annually. Shelly & Sands also has nine aggregate operations with extensive reserves, numbering in the thousands of acres.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Citations; Construction; Department of Labor; Fall protection; Health & Safety; Infrastructure; lift; North America; OSHA; Roads/Highways; Violations

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