OSHA Cites NY and PA Contractors Following a Scaffold Collapse

OSHA has cited two contractors for alleged serious violations of safety standards following a June 2 scaffold collapse at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y., that injured six workers.

The incident occurred when a scaffold platform bridge connecting two separate Hydro Mobile platform scaffolds failed and fell 40 feet to the ground. Apple Roofing Co., a Syracuse contractor performing roofing work, and CFI Sales and Service, the Brackney, Pa., subcontractor that erected the scaffolds, were cited.

OSHA’s inspection found that the safety chains designed to hold the scaffold platform bridge in place were no longer on the scaffold. While it could not be established who removed the safety chains, OSHA determined that Apple Roofing did not have a competent person, one with the knowledge and authority to identify and correct such a hazardous condition, inspect the scaffold before using it.

“If Apple Roofing had inspected the scaffold, it would have seen that the safety chains were not in place and would not have used the scaffold until the chains were re-installed,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse.

As a result of its inspection, OSHA issued Apple Roofing five serious citations, with $12,300 in proposed fines, for not inspecting the scaffold, not training employees to recognize hazards associated with scaffolding work and for fall hazards. CFI Sales and Service was issued two serious citations, with $2,100 in fines, for a fall hazard and for not training employees to recognize scaffold work hazards. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Detailed information on scaffolding safety standards and hazards, including an interactive eTool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.

“One means of eliminating hazards such as these is for employers to establish an illness and injury prevention program in which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to meet with OSHA or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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