The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Blade Contracting Inc., based in Staten Island, N.Y., with seven safety – including one willful – violations for fall hazards at a Jersey City, N.J., worksite. The investigation was initiated after a worker with the masonry contractor was injured by falling from a sixth floor balcony while attempting to access a suspension scaffold. Proposed penalties total $136,290.
The willful violation reflects the use of makeshift devices on top of scaffolds to increase the level height for working and a failure to protect workers on scaffolds from fall hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Two repeat violations involve unprotected workers on scaffolds and a sixth floor balcony. 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 same violations were cited in 2007 and 2010.
Four serious violations involve a failure to install cross bracing on the entire scaffold, ensure personal fall arrest systems were attached to a secure anchorage point and not scaffold guard rails, train workers to recognize and avoid hazards including falls, and ensure proper step ladder use. 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.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BladeContracting_331283_0914_12.pdf*.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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 Parsippany office at (973) 263-1003.