Gainesville Contractor Fails at Fall Protection

OSHA cited the Allan Spear Construction Co., of Gainesville, Fla., for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Gainesville job site. The agency is proposing $59,000 in penalties.

On Oct. 22, OSHA began an inspection after receiving a complaint about fall hazards at a University of Florida construction site that was inspected earlier in the month. During the first inspection, OSHA officials alerted company representatives to fall hazards on a scaffold more than 10 feet high. The hazards were corrected

"Falls are a leading cause of fatalities at construction sites in Florida," said James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director. "This company put its workers at great risk by using a scaffold without an adequate guardrail system, just three weeks after similar problems were brought to its attention."

OSHA issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $56,000 for failing to provide a guardrail system or other means of fall protection for employees working from a scaffold approximately 20 feet high. The agency also issued an serious citation with a proposed penalty of $3,000 when employees were observed working from another scaffold with missing guardrails.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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