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Painting Contractor Faces $2.36 Million in Fines

OSHA has cited Thomas Industrial Coatings Inc. of Pevely, Mo., for 33 alleged willful violations and has proposed penalties of $2.36 million after the agency's investigation of two fatal workplace accidents that occurred within 2 months.

Both accidents occurred at the same bridge painting worksite in Kansas City and at the same suspended scaffold, according to OSHA. One employee died when he fell through a hole in the platform while he was painting; the other employee fell to his death while dismantling the scaffold, the agency said.

"Not only did two workers suffer fatal falls while working in Kansas City, but another employee of this company suffered a fatal fall in a similar accident earlier in the year in the St. Louis area," OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. said. "Three fatalities in 5 months show gross plain indifference to employee safety. Employers must ensure that their workers are protected from unsafe working conditions."

Lack of Fall Protection Cited

The citations include alleged "instance-by-instance" willful violations and eight serious alleged violations of OSHA standards.

The instance-by-instance willful violations allege the lack of fall protection and training for employees, especially in the use of fall protection and the safe dismantling of the scaffold.

The single willful citations allege:

  • The lack of safe scaffold access;
  • That a qualified person did not design the scaffold; and
  • That there were no competent persons to supervise the work.

The citations also allege that the employer failed to inspect the scaffold and its components and to secure the suspension cables properly.

The serious citations address other alleged unsafe practices, including the employer's permitting debris that employees could trip over in front of the large platform holes and overloading the personnel lift.

OSHA can issue instance-by-instance citations for each violation of a standard; for example, as in this case, issuing a citation for each platform hole through which an employee could have fallen.

A call placed to Thomas Industrial Coatings for comment has not been returned.

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