Buffalo, NY (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $89,000 in fines against Ajay Glass & Mirror Co. Inc., a Manchester, N.Y., contractor, for allegedly exposing employees to falls of up to 50 feet at a Buffalo worksite.
OSHA began its inspection after an OSHA official observed Ajay Glass & Mirror employees working without fall protection on the unprotected edge of the fifth floor level of the former Dulski Building at 200 Delaware Ave. The inspection found employees working without the use of a personal fall arrest system or working with their safety lifelines tied off to an anchorage point that was inadequate to restrict falls to 6 feet or less.
"These employees were just one misstep or tumble away from a fatal or disabling plunge," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "While they're lucky they didn't fall, worker safety must not and can never be a matter of luck. Basic and effective fall protection safeguards must be in place and in use at all times."
As a result, OSHA has issued the company one willful citation with a proposed fine of $63,000 for the lack of fall protection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
Nine serious citations, with $26,000 in fines, have been issued for the inadequate anchorage, lack of fall protection training and failure to have the anchorage points designed, installed or overseen by a competent person; unsecured and unmarked coverings for floor holes on the fourth floor level; slack and unmarked perimeter cables; and not barricading the area beneath a scaffold. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is to establish an effective safety and health management system through which employers and employees can systematically evaluate, identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Dube.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the failure to abate notices to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053. Detailed information on fall protection is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.