OSHA Fines Georgia Contractors Nearly $61,000 Following Fatal Accident

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the April 20 impalement death of a construction worker at a Gulf Breeze, Fla., drug store construction site may cost two Georgia contractors a total of $60,900.

The agency began the inspection when a 32-year-old laborer fell from a scaffold onto a protruding reinforcing steel bar, known as a rebar. The worker was employed by Canton, Ga.-based Chadwick T. Wallace Inc., a subcontractor at the site. Cannon/Estapa General Contractors Inc., also headquartered in Canton, was the general contractor. Both companies were cited.

"Cannon/Estapa failed to take appropriate action even after sub-contractors on the job informed the general contractor that the protruding rebar needed to be covered," said James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director. "Employers must take immediate action once they are aware of serious safety hazards that can cause injury or death."

The general contractor was cited for a willful violation for not guarding the protruding rebar and a serious violation for poor housekeeping. Proposed penalties for the alleged violations total $50,050.

OSHA issued three serious citations against Chadwick T. Wallace for not guarding the rebar to eliminate impalement hazards, not providing safe access to scaffolds and poor housekeeping. The sub-contractor was fined $10,850 for the alleged violations.

According to OSHA, neither employer had a safety and health program in place.

Each company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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