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Lilburn, GA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Employers who ignore safety in search of profit put their workers at risk. This idea was apparent to safety and health inspectors as they drove by a Bojangles' restaurant under construction in Lilburn in October 2014.
Workers at the site on Lawrenceville Highway were doing stucco and brick work on an unsafe scaffolding system and were at risk of falls, the leading cause of death for construction workers. Hundreds of these workers die each year and thousands more suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction* at the multiemployer work site.
After the inspection, OSHA found willful, repeated and serious safety violations. It cited contractors Greenway Construction Inc., W.H. Bass Inc., Juan Diaz, MMC Construction LLC and TWS Floor Covering LLC.
"Our investigation found that several contractors were ignoring basic rules about fall protection and created unsafe working conditions," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "In this case, the project was behind schedule and the employers chose to put profits ahead of the safety of their workers."
General contractor W.H. Bass, of Duluth, was issued three serious citations for exposing workers to fall hazards by not ensuring the scaffolding system was fully planked; allowing employees to climb the frame of the scaffolding instead of using a ladder; and exposing workers below them to falling material and tools. Additionally, Greenway, Juan Diaz and MMC were each cited for one serious violation for exposing workers below them to falling debris. Diaz received a serious violation, and Greenway a repeated citation, for not fully planking the scaffold. Diaz was also cited for a willful, and MMC a repeated violation, for permitting workers to climb the scaffold instead of using a ladder.
OSHA cited Greenway Construction, of Doraville, for one additional repeated and two serious violations. The repeated violation was for exposing workers to falls up to 7 feet by not having a ladder at the rear of the scaffold. The serious violations involve not ensuring the scaffold boards extended beyond the centerline for support and allowing employees to stand on a pile of blocks, while on the scaffold, to increase the worker's reach.
OSHA proposes that Greenway Construction be placed in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program for demonstrating indifference to its OSH Act obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.
Juan Diaz, a masonry contractor, was also issued six additional serious and one other-than-serious citation. The serious violations include exposing workers to an unprotected belt and pulley on the mortar mixer and failure to install connecting pins on the scaffolding and to extend the scaffold boards beyond the centerline for support. Additional serious violations include not installing guardrails on the scaffolding and allowing employees to work at heights up to 13 feet without fall protection. The other-than-serious violation involved failure to certify that employees were trained to wear fall protection.
MMC Construction, of Lawrenceville, was cited for three additional serious violations because it permitted employees to climb a broken and separated frame scaffold; did not install connecting pins on scaffolding; and let workers stand on stacked foam to reach a higher level.
TWS Floor Covering, a tile and terrazzo contractor, was cited for one serious and two other-than-serious violations for not establishing a written respiratory program and electrical hazards.
Proposed penalties for the five companies total $125,030. View current citations at
The companies have 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 Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA has inspected W.H. Bass, a commercial builder, nine times since July 2010. MMC Construction, a buildings finisher, was inspected eight times since August 2010, and Greenway Construction, a masonry contractor, four times since April 2011. Juan Diaz and TWS Floor Covering, both of Lilburn, have no OSHA inspections in the last five years.
OSHA has created a fall prevention Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
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