Contractors at Gulf Shores, Ala., Job Site Cited for Fall Hazards

March 17, 2003
OSHA cited a general contractor and three sub-contractors for failing to protect workers from fall hazards at a 10-story condominium building under construction in Gulf Shores, Ala.

OSHA is proposing over $126,000 in total penalties. The agency began an inspection on Sept. 10, after employees were observed working near the unguarded edges of the building's 10th floor.

"Falls are a leading cause of fatalities at construction sites," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The companies working on this project put their employees at risk by not following safety standards."

According to Ken Atha, OSHA's area director in Mobile, sub-contractor United Forming Inc. was cited for failing to protect employees working near unguarded elevator shafts, and failing to provide employees with proper fall arrest equipment and safe access to work areas. Because the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld similar citations against this company, OSHA deemed the violations "repeat" and proposed $92,500 in penalties.

The concrete sub-contractor also received four serious citations with penalties totaling $17,500 for improper scaffolding and exposing employees to the risk of impalement on unguarded protruding reinforcing bars.

OSHA also cited sub-contractor Baroco Electric Construction Co. for exposing workers to fall hazards. The three serious citations carry $9,000 in proposed penalties.

Sub-contractor Kittrell Acoustics received two serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $1,050 for failing to provide eye protection for an employee using a nail gun and for exposing employees to falls from mobile scaffolding with broken caster locks.

Brett-Robinson, the general contractor, was cited for three alleged serious violations: exposing workers to falls from unguarded canopy edges, impalement from protruding reinforcing bars and unsafe use of ladders. Proposed penalties total $6,400.

The companies have 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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