OSHA Cites 2 Construction Companies Following Fall

                               Stuart, FL (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Winter Park Construction Co. of Maitland and The Warehouse Co. of Myrtle Beach, S.C., with eight alleged safety violations following the injury of a worker who fell while renovating the interior of a resort complex in Stuart. Proposed penalties total $68,750.

In September 2010, a worker with The Warehouse Co., a subcontractor of Winter Park Construction Co., fell approximately 21 feet to a concrete surface while passing furniture from a debris container mounted on the forks of a powered industrial truck. The container was elevated to the surface of a breezeway railing, and the worker had one foot on the railing and the other foot on the container when he fell.

OSHA issued The Warehouse Co. one willful safety citation with a proposed penalty of $56,000 for failing to provide employees with fall protection while working on a railing of a breezeway within 3 feet of an unprotected edge. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The Warehouse Co. also received two serious safety citations with $1,500 in proposed penalties. The company failed to provide training to recognize fall hazards and procedures to follow when working from a railing without fall protection, and exposed employees who were not trained in fall hazards to falling approximately 21 feet from a temporary working platform.

Winter Park Construction was issued five serious safety citations with $11,250 in proposed penalties for exposing workers to potential fall hazards and struck-by hazards; failing to have a designated competent person inspect the worksite, materials and equipment; allowing employees to operate a powered industrial truck without being evaluated as required; and for having deficiencies in its site-specific safety and health program. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"Falls continue to be the number one killer in construction," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "Employers must take responsibility for the safety of their employees, and ensure training and procedures are in place to eliminate their exposure to falls. Blatant disregard for the law will not be tolerated."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Fort Lauderdale Area Office, 1000 South Pine Island Road, Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 33324; telephone 954-424-0242. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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