OSHA Proposes $90,600 in Fines for Tulsa Developer Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards

Case Development LLC, the general building contractor of an apartment complex in Norman, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for serious and repeat violations and a proposed fine of $90,600 following a November 2013 inspection. OSHA found the company failed to protect workers from dangerous falls and other serious hazards. Falls are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the construction industry, and failing to provide fall protection is one of the 10 most frequently cited OSHA violations. In 2012, there were 269 fall-related fatalities out of the 775 construction-related fatalities nationwide.

"Workers who work at heights are at risk for serious injury or death if they fall," said David Bates, OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City. "To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection, such as safety harnesses."

The inspection was initiated under the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on construction fall hazards. Two repeat violations, with a fine of $77,000, were cited for failing to protect workers in aerial lifts from falls and failing to require fall protection for workers conducting residential construction. 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. The company was cited for similar violations during a July 2009 inspection in Tulsa and a March 2010 inspection in Oklahoma City.

Two serious violations, with a fine of $13,600, were cited for failing to ensure workers exposed to overhead hazards wore head protection and that ladders were used in a safe manner. 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.

OSHA's fall prevention campaign provides employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about preventing falls when working from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. It was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More information on fall protection standards is available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

Case Development has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Oklahoma City office at 405-278-9560.

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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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