Fall Hazards Prompt OSHA Fines for Contractor

A Newark, N.J.-based residential framer contractor has been cited by OSHA after inspectors observed workers allegedly exposed to potentially fatal falls at a construction site in Norwich, Conn.

According to OSHA, employees from New Place Carpentry were working without proper fall protection and were exposed to 18- and 27-foot falls from ladders of insufficient height. This, along with 15 other violations, resulted in $120,500 in proposed fines for the company.

Employees allegedly worked with a defective stepladder, used a wooden pallet instead of a ladder to access a work area and didn't inspect ladders for defects. The company also allegedly failed to train employees in recognizing fall hazards.

The Oct. 31 inspection also allegedly identified:

  • A damaged lifting sling.
  • Lack of head, hand and eye protection.
  • Ungrounded electrical cords and receptacles.
  • Absence of fire extinguishers and lack of hazard communication training.

In addition, the job site allegedly was littered with scrap lumber with protruding nails, according to OSHA investigators.

“Falls are the No. 1 killer in construction,” said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. “Effective fall protection is absolutely essential for protecting employees against death or disabling injuries. There is no good reason for this contractor's failure to provide fall protection.”

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