Florida Contractors Fail to Protect Workers Against Falls

Failing to protect workers from fall hazards at a Jacksonville, Fla., construction site has earned two contractors citations and proposed penalties totaling $81,500.

After observing employees working on a roof without adequate fall protection, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began an inspection in January under provisions of the Construction Accident Reduction Emphasis (CARE) program. The CARE program is a statewide effort to reduce the high number of accidents and fatalities at Florida construction sites.

"In Florida, falls accounted for 23 of the 43 construction-related deaths investigated by OSHA between Oct. 1, 2001 and May 31, 2002," said James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director. "If employers had followed the minimum standards, most of these deaths could have been prevented,"

OSHA issued two willful citations to New Smyrna Beach, Fla.-based Leveltech Inc. for allowing employees to work from an aerial lift bucket and on a roof without proper fall protection equipment. The company also received two serious citations for allowing employees to work without hard hats and from an aerial bucket's midrail. Proposed penalties for the alleged violations total $73,500.

Two serious citations were issued to a second contractor, Stevens Masonry and Concrete Inc., for alleged scaffolding and fall protection violations. The St. Augustine, Fla., company also received a repeat citation for failing to have a competent person supervise and direct the construction of the scaffold. Proposed fines total $8,000.

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