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OSHA Comes Down Hard on Miami Contractors

OSHA fines three Miami contractors a total of $102,300 for fall protection and scaffolding violations.

Three Miami contractors will pay the price for exposing employees to fall hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $102,300 in total penalties for two willful and 15 serious citations for alleged violations of the fall protection and scaffolding standard.

The Ft. Lauderdale OSHA office was notified in April and in June about unsafe conditions at the site of a building addition for the Florida Department of Transportation in Miami. OSHA inspected the site twice, and issued the citations.

Citing missing planks and guardrails on scaffolding platforms, OSHA issued two willful citations against the job's general contractor, Grace & Naeem Uddin Inc., with proposed penalties of $66,000, following the April inspection. Three alleged serious violations involving fall hazards resulted in another $9,000 in fines.

In June, OSHA found that employees of a subcontractor were exposed to the same hazards and additional fines of $12,000 were imposed against Grace & Naeem Uddin, the controlling employer on the job, for continuing to expose workers to fall hazards.

OSHA previously cited Grace & Naeem Uddin for defective scaffolds, fall protection and training violations as the result of an earlier inspection triggered by a wall collapse that injured two workers in March of this year. As a result of the April and June inspections, Grace & Naeem Uddin again received citations for unsafe scaffolding that exposed workers to falls.

"This company has shown a total disregard for workers' safety," said Luis Santiago, OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale acting area director. "Even after the company was made aware of fall hazards in March and the recurring problems were noted in April, the same hazards turned up again. This employer knew the OSHA requirements and knew employees were exposed to falls of up to 36 feet but took no corrective action."

Following the April inspection, three serious citations with proposed penalties of $9,300 were issued against subcontractor E-Z Block Construction Corp. for allegedly exposing employees to fall hazards by allowing them to work on scaffolding platforms 28 feet above the ground without proper planking and guardrails. The June inspection resulted in four similar alleged serious violations levied against Unique Plastering, Inc., another sub-contractor. That contractor was fined $6,000.

All three contractors have 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

edited by Sandy Smith

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