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Mass. Contractor Cited by OSHA Following Fatal Fall

OSHA cited A.P.S. Products Inc. (formerly Pimental Steel Inc.),\r\nPeabody, Mass., for alleged safety and health violations following a\r\nfatal fall at a construction site in Medford, Mass.

OSHA cited A.P.S. Products Inc. (formerly Pimental Steel Inc.), Peabody, Mass., for alleged safety and health violations following a fatal fall at a construction site in Medford, Mass.

The citations result from an investigation by OSHA after a fatal accident on Dec. 21, 2000, at the construction site of a cold storage warehouse in Medford.

The investigation revealed that an employee of A.P.S., unprotected by any sort of fall protection equipment, had plunged 40 feet to his death from the top of the steel frame of the building under construction.

"This worker''s death was all the more tragic, because we know from a previous case involving this company that this employer was well aware of its responsibility to provide employees with fall protection on this type of project, and head legally committed itself to do so in order to settle that case," said Richard Fazzio, OSHA''s area director for Northeastern Massachusetts. "It is because of this knowledge and this commitment that we are now citing the employer for willful violations."

The alleged willful violations concern the company''s failure to provide effective means of fall protection, such as safety nets, when employees were exposed to falls of 40 feet from steel framework and decking, and failure to require employees to use body belts or body harnesses with safety lanyards when using aerial lifts to enter or leave the steel structure.

OSHA''s proposed fine is $28,000 for these violations.

The four alleged serious violations pertain to the employer''s failure to properly train employees in the recognition of fall hazards and the methods to be used to protect them from such hazards, the improper and unsafe use of ladders on the job site, and the failure to secure ladders on slippery surfaces.

A total of $11,200 in penalties is attached to these violations.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either comply or contest them.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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