The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Twin Pines Construction Inc. for willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Durham site. The contractor faces proposed fines of $290,700 after an OSHA inspection.
Employees performing framing work were exposed to falls ranging from nine feet high to thirty feet high because of the inadequate fall protection safeguards provided by Twin Pines Construction. OSHA standards require that employees working six feet or more above a floor must be protected against falls by personal fall arrest systems, guardrails or safety nets.
Due to the inadequate safety measures, three willful violations were cited, carrying with them $200,500 in fines. 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.
The OSHA area director stated, “The sizable penalties proposed here reflect the gravity and recurring nature of these hazards, plus this employer’s knowledge of and refusal to correct them. This is unacceptable. Falls remain the number one killer in construction work, having cost the lives of 264 workers in 2010. Employers who fail to supply and ensure the use of proper and effective fall protection safeguards are gambling with the lives and well-being of their employees.”
Four repeat citations are for hazards similar to those reported in 2009 and 2011 in various sites across Massachusetts. These hazards include lack of fall protection training, no eye protection for employees using nail guns, ungrounded electrical cords and missing handrails. 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 repeat violations carry a proposed fine of $75,900.
Also, Twin Pines was issued three serious citations for wood and metal trusses inadequately braced during installation, missing fire extinguishers and no protection from falling objects. 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. Twin Pines was fined $14,300 for the serious violations.
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
Massachusetts Contractor Faces $290,700 In Fines, workerscompensation.com, May 29, 2013