OSHA Cites Seven Contractors at Dunkirk, N.Y., Construction Site

Failure to protect employees against electrical hazards and falls of 18 feet or more at a Dunkirk, N.Y., construction site has resulted in a total of $130,400 in proposed OSHA fines against seven contractors from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and New York.

"It is the employer's responsibility to ensure proper fall protection is in place and in use, so workers are not exposed to fall hazards," said OSHA Regional Administrator Patricia K. Clark. "Repeated failure to do so is unacceptable, and OSHA is committed to protecting workers and will provide strong enforcement and appropriate penalties."

OSHA began its inspection after employees were observed working without fall protection at roof's edge. The inspection included seven contractors building a Home Depot store at that location.

The largest total fine, $52,900, was proposed against Alex Roofing Inc., of Erie, Pa., which was cited for an alleged willful violation, with a $49,000 fine, for exposing its employees to fall hazards while working at roof's edge. An additional $3,900 in fines was proposed for four serious citations addressing unguarded and ungrounded power tools, ungrounded extension cords and unprotected live conductors on extension cords.

North American Roofing Services, of Arden, N.C., faces a $50,000 fine for an alleged repeat violation for failing to provide fall protection for its employees working at the roof's edge. A fine of $15,000 was proposed against Perry Construction Group Inc., of Erie, Pa., the project's controlling employer, for an alleged repeat violation, for not ensuring that sub-contractors used fall protection when exposed to falls. This is the third time each of these employers has been cited for this type of hazard in the past three years. Other cited employers include:

  • Action Installers Inc., of Roanoke, Va., which faces $5,000 in fines for two serious citations for failing to protect workers in scissor lifts with standard guardrails and failing to train employees to recognize and avoid fall hazards;
  • Jerr's Electrical Contractors Inc., of Dunkirk, N.Y., which was issued two serious citations, with $3,000 in fines, for unguarded live electrical parts and failure to close an opening in electrical boxes;
  • Kemble Remodeling, of Middleburg, Pa., which faces two serious citations with $3,000 in fines, for no lower blade guard on a chop saw and no hood guard on a table saw; and
  • Vogt, Brewer & Litz Inc., of Erie, Pa., which faces $1,500 in fines for two serious citations for not protecting employees in scissor lifts with standard guardrails and for ungrounded extension cords.

A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA Act and regulations. A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard about which the employer know or should have known. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and that citation has become a final order.

The employers can appeal the citations to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, ask for an informal conference with the area OSHA director or pay the fines.

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