OSHA Drops a $49,500 Fine on a Contractor for Fall Hazards in New Hampshire

A New York contractor's failure to adequately protect employees against falls at a New Hampshire construction site has resulted in a proposed $49,500 fine for an alleged willful violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Frank Lill & Son Inc. of Webster, N.Y. for fall hazards at a gas/power plant under construction in Newington, N.H.

"Sections of work platforms located 85 feet above the ground either lacked guardrails altogether or had inadequate guardrails in place," says David May, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "Our inspection also found unguarded floor openings and holes between the work platforms and interior equipment through which employees could fall. In addition, a lifeline to which employees could attach their safety lanyards was inadequate or unused."

May stresses the importance of providing effective fall protection when employees are working 6 feet or more above the next work level and noted that falls accounted for 734 on the job deaths in the United States in 2000.

"Of particular concern in this case is that this employer was well aware of the need for fall protection yet apparently elected to forego providing this basic worker safeguard," May notes. "As a result, we have classified this citation as willful, the most severe citation OSHA can issue." OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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