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Fall Protection and Scaffolding Hazards Lead to $170,000 in Fines

A Franklin Square, N.Y. stucco contractor's failure to protect employees from the hazards of working on roofs and elevated scaffolds at two Long Island work sites has resulted in citations and substantial fines from OSHA.

New Creation Stucco Inc. was cited for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following inspections at work sites in Freeport and Long Beach, N.Y., that began last December. At both sites, employees were observed performing stucco work without proper fall protection.

"Falls are among the most common causes of work-related injuries and fatalities," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "OSHA's standards are in place to protect workers, but they must be strictly followed to avoid accidents."

Inspectors found life-threatening hazards and issued six willful citations. Total penalties of $156,000 were proposed for not having sufficient planks on scaffolds for employees to work safely, not having ladders to reach working levels, not giving workers hard hats, and not providing guardrails or personal fall arrest systems. The first two alleged violations were found at both sites.

Having found similar violations since April 2002 during inspections of company work sites in Bayside and Levittown, OSHA cited New Creation Stucco for three repeat violations for not providing helmets; not providing fall protection on walking or working surfaces; and inadequate cross bracing on scaffolds. The repeat citations carry a total proposed penalty of $12,000, according to Harvey Shapiro, OSHA's area director for Long Island.

One alleged serious violation, carrying a $2000 penalty, charges the company with failure to lay platforms on top of each other when the direction of the platform changes.

OSHA issues a willful citation for violations committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Repeat citations are issued for violations for which an employer has been previously cited that have become a final orders. A serious violation is a condition for which there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.

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