Mass. Employers Cited for Safety Violations at School Construction Site

OSHA plans on teaching two Massachusetts contractors a lesson or two about workplace safety.

The agency cited J&J Contractors Inc. of Lowell, Mass., and Cornerstone Masonry Inc., of North Dartmouth, Mass., for exposing employees to several safety hazards at the Wilson School construction site in Natick, Mass. OSHA proposed fines of $7,500 against J&J and $58,000 against Cornerstone for the alleged violations.

According to Richard Fazzio, OSHA area director for Essex and Middlesex Counties, his agency conducted an inspection of the construction site on Aug.14.

"As the result of that inspection, we are citing the general contractor, J&J Contractors Inc., for four serious violations, including failing to conduct safety inspections of the site, failing to keep the site clear of hazardous debris, exposing employees to tripping hazards, and exposing employees to fall hazards due to the lack of handrails in stairwells on the site," Fazzio said.

As reflected in the larger penalty amount, Fazzio noted that Cornerstone Masonry is being cited for seven serious and two repeat violations.

The alleged serious violations include exposing employees to hazardous debris on the site, exposing employees to fall hazards because scaffolds were not fully planked, improperly installed scaffold braces, unsupported mudsills on scaffolds, allowing the erection of scaffolds without proper supervision, displaced manhole covers exposing employees to tripping hazards, allowing use of a forklift truck without safety inspection and with a distorted rear windshield, and exposing employees to the fall hazards of a ladder blocked at the top.

Repeat violations include exposing employees to fall hazards by failing to provide safe access from one level of scaffolding to another, and failing to have the scaffolding inspected daily to ensure its structural integrity.

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and proposed penalties to elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, and/or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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