New Jersey Contractor Facing Over $50,000 in Fines for Fall Hazards

Concrete Systems Inc. faces $52,470 in proposed OSHA penalties for eight fall protection safety violations

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New Jersey concrete and masonry company Concrete Systems Inc. has been cited for one repeat and seven serious safety hazards following a February investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA investigators opened the inspection after observing workers constructing formwork without fall protection at the construction site of three midrise buildings at 300 Glenwood Ave. in Bloomfield, N.J. The investigation was also initiated as part of the agency's local emphasis program on fall hazards in construction. The proposed penalties for these violations total $52,470.

"Concrete Systems Inc. was previously cited twice for exposing workers to fall and other safety and health hazards at worksites in Kearny and Cranford, New Jersey," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office.

The repeat hazard, with a $13,860 penalty, was cited because employees were exposed to a 25-foot fall hazard without the proper protection. The company was previously cited for the same violation in 2012. 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 serious violations, carrying a $38,610 penalty, were cited almost entirely for violations of fall safety standards. Employees were exposed to fall hazards of up to 25 feet while accessing scaffold platforms without using a ladder. Employees were exposed to fall hazards in excess of 16 or 25 feet without the proper fall protection while working from scaffolding. In addition, the company failed to ensure employees were properly tied off on boom lifts and to adequate anchorage points. Concrete Systems also failed to properly train workers on the use of fall protection equipment.

Employees were also exposed to impalement hazards due to rebar ends that were not properly guarded. 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.

Concrete Systems, based in Stirling, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.