OSHA Cites Contractors For Failing To Protect Workers From Falls

                               Neenah, WI (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Neenah-based GTO Contractors LLC with six safety – willful, repeat and serious – violations for failing to protect workers from falls. OSHA began an inspection in September under a local emphasis program on fall protection after inspectors witnessed workers exposed to fall hazards at commercial roofing work sites in Janesville and Middleton. Proposed penalties total $121,660.

"Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Failing to provide fall protection places workers at risk for serious injuries," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers cited with repeat violations demonstrate a lack of attention to employee safety and health. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

A willful violation – failing to provide fall protection on a steep-pitch roof – was cited at both locations. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Two repeat violations involve not providing workers with fall protection training at either site. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2007 at a work site in McFarland.

Finally, a safety and health program for workers was not implemented at either site, resulting in two serious violations. A serious violation occurs 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.

Detailed information on scaffold hazards and safe work practices, including an interactive eTool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.

Prior to these inspections, GTO Contractors had been inspected by OSHA five times since 2007, resulting in citations for five violations related to fall protection standards.

The most recent citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GTOContractors_107379_0322_12.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/_109197_0322GTOContractors_12.pdf*.The company has 15 business days from receipt of those citations and accompanying penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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