Fines Rise for Staten Island Company Cited for Scaffolding Hazards

Sept. 19, 2002
Numerous and repeated employee exposures to scaffolding hazards at two construction sites have resulted in OSHA citations and $292,500 in proposed fines against New York Stucco Inc., of Staten Island, N.Y.

Robert D. Kulick, area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Avenel, N.J. office, said the inspections were conducted at both sites as a result of a special emphasis program focused on fall protection, the number one hazard in construction. The company has until October 3 to contest the citations.

As a result of the Woodbridge inspection, initiated on March 13, the company was cited for three willful violations, five repeat violations and one serious violation, with proposed penalties totaling $167,500. Violations include the company's use of frayed or worn electrical cords, and failure to use hard hats, fully plank scaffold platforms, provide fall protection for employees on scaffolds, provide safe access to and from scaffold platforms, securely brace scaffolds, secure scaffold poles, and train scaffold workers.

The second inspection, initiated April 8, yielded citations for three willful violations, two repeat violations and one serious violation, with proposed penalties totaling $125,000. Violations include the company's failure to ensure that supported scaffolds were erected on firm foundations, fully plank scaffold platforms, provide employees safe access to and from scaffold platforms, provide fall protection for employees on scaffolds, brace tubular welded frame scaffolds, and train scaffold workers.

"New York Stucco's refusal to comply with OSHA requirements perpetuates an unsafe work environment for its employees," says Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator in New York. "Persistent and blatant non-compliance from employers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations. A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantially similar infractions of the law. A serious violation is one where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

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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