Fatal Fall Hazards May Cost Georgia Company

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

After seeing four of its workers killed in fall-related accidents since 1987, Southern Pan Services Co. (SPS) of Conley, Ga., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for knowingly exposing workers to potentially fatal fall hazards.

OSHA proposes $460,000 in penalties after citing SPS with 11 violations, 10 of which were alleged willful violations for lack of fall protection during construction at the Home Depot headquarters in Smyrna, Ga.

SPS, one of the largest concrete formwork contractors in the eastern United States, with 800 workers, also has had three nonfatal injuries related to falls in the same period. In addition, OSHA cited the contractor 13 times for fall protection violations between 1988 and 1998.

The most-recent citations resulted from a complaint inspection, which began in November, contending that SPS didn't implement a conventional fall protection program at the site for employees working at the leading edge of concrete floors. Workers were exposed to potential fall hazards ranging from 10 to 94 feet.

During the investigation, SPS management at the job site said they wouldn't comply with OSHA standards nor take action regarding possible violations.

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