OSHA began its inspection in July after the company failed to submit proof that it had corrected roofing hazards cited during two previous OSHA inspections. The latest inspection found that the roof's condition had significantly worsened, with damaged and decaying wooden joists and rainwater entering the building through a damaged rubber roof membrane. Sand and gravel from overhead conveyor belts also accumulated on the roof.
"Employees working inside the building are exposed to a potential roof collapse, while those working on the roof run the risk of falling through it into the building," said Thomas Guilmartin, OSHA's Hartford area director. "Allowing such conditions to occur and continue is unacceptable. It's the employer's responsibility to quickly correct them."
As a result of these hazards and the company's refusal to correct them, OSHA issued a "willful" citation for failing to supply a workplace free from recognized collapse and fall hazards. OSHA proposed a fine of $70,000, the maximum for an alleged violation committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Atlantic Pipe Corp. was also issued a repeat citation, with a $10,000 fine, for failing to supply fall protection equipment for an employee who was exposed to falls of up to 32 feet from the roof while shoveling off accumulated sand and gravel. The company had been cited for a similar hazard in March.
Two serious citations, with total proposed fines of $7,500, were issued for allowing electrical equipment to be saturated with rainwater from the leaking roof and for an uncovered pit.
Atlantic Pipe Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its latest citations 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.