OSHA has cited Tarpon Springs, Fla.-based Damalos & Sons, Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $79,500 for safety and health violations found during an inspection of a Jacksonville bridge re-painting project.
The company was cited for two repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $60,000 for failing to properly monitor employees with elevated blood-lead levels and for failing to give employees written blood test results.
"Our inspectors found that workers on this paint removal and re-paint job were exposed to dust with more than 50 times the permissible level of lead," said James D. Borders, OSHA''s Jacksonville area director.
Borders explained that, over time, lead can accumulate in a worker''s body and cause irreversible damage to their brain, central nervous system and other parts of the body. Even a short-term dose of lead exposure can adversely affect the brain. "That''s why one of OSHA''s national goals is to reduce employee exposure to lead," Borders said.
"In Florida we also have a local emphasis program to reduce fall hazards because too many workers are killed or injured due to falls at construction sites."
The two areas of emphasis, according to Borders, may explain why an OSHA inspector driving by the site noticed some unsafe practices that exposed workers to fall hazards and possible lead exposures.
"Our inspection began as a result of the inspector''s referral," he added.
In addition to the repeat citations, the agency issued five serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $19,500 for failing to:
- conduct quarterly air monitoring to determine employees'' level of exposure to lead;
- provide medical surveillance to employees when lead exposures reached a certain level;
- provide employees with clean personal protective equipment daily when lead exposures;
- exceeded permissible levels;
- assure that employees wore proper fall protection when working from aerial lifts; and
- provide proper guardrail systems.
by Melissa Martin