OSHA Fines Construction Contractor Following Inspection

OSHA cited Suffolk Construction Co., Boston, Mass., for alleged\r\nrepeat safety violations at a New Bedford, Mass., worksite and proposed\r\n$62,700 in fines.

OSHA cited Suffolk Construction Co., Boston, Mass., for alleged repeat safety violations at a New Bedford, Mass., worksite. Proposed fines against the construction contractor total $62,700.

The alleged violations were discovered during an inspection of a building renovation project for which Suffolk is the general contractor, according to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

"The inspection found that workers were exposed to a number of safety hazards including potential falls from the second floor, tripping and fall hazards presented by uncleared piles of building and scrap materials, being struck by tools or other objects falling from unprotected upper work levels, and being impaled on unguarded steel rebar," said Gordon.

Gordon continued, "Of particular concern is the fact that this contractor has been cited for similar hazards at other jobsites several times in the past two years. While no deaths or serious injuries resulted from these conditions, that is in spite of, not due to, an employer''s repeated failure to ensure that these simple, vital and legally required safeguards are in place and in use."

Specifically, Suffolk Construction Co. faces $62,700 in fines for five alleged repeat violations for:

  • two workers not using fall protection were exposed to falls of more than 15 feet and 12 feet, respectively;
  • workers exposed to tripping and falling injuries from piles of building materials, scrap material and lumber in work access areas;
  • workers exposed to impalement hazards from unguarded reinforcing steel;
  • workers exposed to injury from falling objects while working under and around floor openings which lacked toeboards;
  • a discharged fire extinguisher had not been removed from service.

Suffolk Construction had previously been cited for violations of these safety standards in February 1999, March 1999 and February 2000, following inspections at different worksites in Boston, Mass.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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