OSHA’s inspection found that North Ridge workers lacked fall protection while dismantling the stairway, exposing them to falls of up to 40 feet. OSHA issued North Ridge one willful citation with a proposed fine of $35,000 for the lack of fall protection. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
“This incident is a prime example of the consequences that occur when an employer fails to provide workers with effective and required fall protection,” said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s area director for New Hampshire. “Proper safeguards would have prevented this fall and the injury that resulted.”
North Ridge also was issued three serious citations with $9,000 in proposed fines for failing to provide fall protection training to workers, a tripping hazard from unfilled metal pan stair treads and failing to provide a competent person to inspect the work area in order to identify and correct such hazards. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA also issued two serious citations with $7,200 in proposed fines to the project’s general contractor, CMGC Building Corp. of Bedford, N.H., for lack of fall protection and for not filling in the stairway treads.
Detailed information on fall protection hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.