Apartment Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska Raises Hackles of OSHA Inspectors in Multiple Fall Hazard Violations
OSHA inspectors were busy late last year at a Lincoln, Nebraska, apartment building under construction. In one fell swoop, OSHA observed and cited five companies for 20 separate safety violations, many of which hinged upon inadequate fall protection. Inspections were conducted between mid-December 2015 and January 22, 2016, with $115,000 in citations issued to these contractors on June 1, 2016.
Missing or ineffective fall protection has been OSHA’s most cited violation since 2011. Considering that falls account for 40% of construction fatalities, with 349 out of 874 industry-wide deaths in 2014, these violations stand out.
As a response to the volume of fall protection citations, Graphic Products has released an online OSHA Fall Protection and Fall Clearance Calculations Infographic to help contractors and their crews. This informative infographic helps employers break down fall clearance distance calculations, outlines necessary elements of an effective fall arrest system, and explains OSHA’s fall arrest requirements.
The Five Who Were Fined
Facing a total of $65,450 in fines, East Framing Inc. of Grimesland, NC, received the largest fine. Federal safety investigators observed seven workers exposed to fall hazards up to five stories high while performing framing work at the apartment site. East Framing Inc., acting as a subcontractor for framing work was fined for one willful and three serious safety violations, ranging from not providing adequate fall protection around a ladder or floor hole, to not protecting workers with fall arrest systems.
Second on the list is South Georgia Framers of Statesboro, GA, for willfully exposing employees to falls and other safety hazards. The framing contractor faces fines of $33,000 for four OSHA violations, including failing to install mid rails, offset guardrails, or gates on the second floor, with a potential fall hazard of 9 feet near a floor hole.
America’s Best Siding of Fort Collins, CO, was fined $9,100 for exposing workers to hazards on the site. The siding company racked up six serious safety violations, facing the most numerous penalties from OSHA in this group. According to OSHA, the siding contractor failed to train workers about chemical handling procedures, a serious violation in the eyes of the regulating agency. In addition, the contractor failed to install fall protection near wall and floor openings.
Fourth, Aspen Heights of Austin, Texas, is the controlling employer contractor on the project and faces proposed penalties of $4,500 for three serious violations, all relating to failure to install adequate fall arrest protection such as mesh or mid rails for second floor falls.
Finally, ProCon Construction Services LLC, faces $3,150 in proposed penalties for three serious violations, all fall protection-related.
Each 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. Every citation is a reminder that as employers and safety professionals, we can do better.
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