Want Some Fries with that Citation?

June 17, 2008
Fall and cave-in hazards at Concord, N.H., worksite lead to more than $120,000 in fines from OSHA for two Bay State contractors working on a McDonald's restaurant construction site.

OSHA's inspection of the McDonald's restaurant construction site found employees of Shawnlee Construction, a Plainville, Mass., roofing contractor, exposed to fall hazards. Employees of James T. Lynch Contractors Inc., a Reading, Mass., excavation contractor, were exposed to cave-in hazards. Shawnlee faces a total of $96,500 in proposed fines and Lynch a total of $23,700.

“These are two of the deadliest, yet most preventable, hazards in construction work,” said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s area director in Concord. “Failing to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place and in use needlessly exposes employees to death or serious injuries from falls or being buried in a cave-in.”

Specifically, Shawnlee employees were found to be working atop 15-foot high trusses without fall protection and were not adequately trained in anchoring their fall protection lifelines. These conditions resulted in two repeat citations, carrying $82,500 in proposed fines. OSHA had cited Shawnlee in 2005, 2006 and 2007 for similar conditions at worksites in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Shawnlee also has been issued two serious citations, with $12,000 in fines, for lack of eye protection for employees using nail guns and improper use of fall protection harnesses and lanyards. Two other-than-serious citations, with $2,000 in fines, were issued for the company's failure to maintain and provide the illness and injury log in a timely manner.

Employees of James T. Lynch Contractors were observed working in a 7-foot deep excavation that lacked adequate protection against a collapse of its sidewalls. This finding has resulted in one willful citation, carrying a $21,000 fine. Lynch also has been issued three serious citations, with $2,700 in fines, for an access ladder of insufficient height and for lack of a hazard communication program and training for its employees.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have an immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent 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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