OSHA Proposes $128,000 in Fines For J&R Landmark Construction; Agency Says Firm's Owner Still Owes $272,200 in Previous Fines

The alleged repeated safety violations of a DeSoto, Texas-based construction company have raised OSHA's ire.

OSHA has levied $128,000 in proposed penalties against J&R Landmark Construction Corp. for alleged repeated failures to properly erect scaffold equipment and follow safety standards at a Houston construction site.

OSHA cited J&R Landmark Construction Corp., a brick-laying company that employs about 105 workers, for three alleged serious and seven alleged repeat violations following an inspection by OSHA's Houston South area office that began July 2 as part of a local emphasis program aimed at preventing fall hazards in construction. At the time of the inspection, J&R Construction was a subcontractor at a worksite located at Briar Forest Drive in Houston. Employees were working on scaffolds without adequate fall protection equipment, according to OSHA.

"Health and safety standards must be followed to save lives and prevent injuries," said OSHA's Houston South Area Director Charles Williams. "This company has been cited on numerous occasions for the same violations, which warrants the high amount of the fines."

The alleged serious violations include failing to protect employees from fall hazards and failing to provide eye protection for workers exposed to eye and face injuries while cutting brick. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The alleged repeat violations include failing to provide guywires or ties to prevent the scaffold from tipping over and planking; failing to provide guardrails on scaffolds; failing to provide employees with ladders for access; failing to properly deck the scaffolds; failing to provide hard hats as protective equipment, and failing to provide toeboards. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an inspection reveals a violation for which the employer had been previously cited, and where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

OSHA has inspected other companies owned by J&R Landmark's owner, Ramiro Rodriguez, seven times for similar violations since 1998. Those citations have resulted in fines totaling $272,200, which the company still owes, according to OSHA.

J&R Landmark Construction has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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