OSHA Proposes $120,000 in Fines for Willful, RepeatViolations

Clear Communications Group Inc. was cited by OSHA following an inspection conducted at a telecommunications tower under construction near Georgetown, Ohio.

OSHA has proposed $120,000 in fines for alleged workplace safety violations against Clear Communications Group Inc.

The fines are based on an inspection conducted at a telecommunications tower under construction near Georgetown, Ohio.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Clear Communications Group Inc. is a telecommunications engineering and construction company that also designs, installs and maintains communication towers, sites and equipment for radio and cellular customers.

OSHA''s Cincinnati Area Office conducted an inspection of the Georgetown site based on an OSHA regional emphasis program designed to increase awareness and accelerate enforcement activity in order to help reduce the frequency of injuries and fatalities within the telecommunications industry.

When OSHA arrived at the site, inspectors found three employees climbing 50 or more feet up and traversing a tower without the use of fall protection.

During a subsequent site visit, workers were again observed traversing the tower at heights exceeding 150 feet, still without using fall protection.

"The failure to provide adequate fall protection is one of the most common and most preventable causes of injuries in the workplace," said OSHA Administrator Charles Jeffress. "One third of all fatalities in the construction industry are caused by falls, which makes it particularly disturbing that on two separate occasions, this company allowed its workers to climb the tower without protection. Clear Communications is well aware of its obligation to protect its workers; there is simply no excuse for its failure to do so."

According to William Murphy, area director for the Cincinnati OSHA office, one willful citation was issued concerning the company''s failure to provide and ensure the use of adequate fall protection, and two repeat violations were issued concerning the company''s failure to ensure that employees were trained on fall protection procedures and provided with appropriate equipment and training concerning emergency rescue procedures.

OSHA had conducted an inspection on Feb. 15 at another Clear Communications Group site located less than 45 miles from the Georgetown site and had found substantially similar violations.

Murphy added that the company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either comply with them or contest them.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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