OSHA Fines Contractor $61,000 Following Worker's 30-Foot Fall

OSHA has cited Misdea Enterprises LLC, a Weymouth, Mass., masonry contractor, for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards after an employee fell 30 feet while climbing a scaffold at a jobsite located in Brookline, Mass. The company faces a total of $61,600 in proposed fines.

OSHA's inspection found that the scaffold lacked a ladder or other safe means of accessing its upper levels and the workers were not supplied with fall protection while working on the scaffold. Employers must provide fall protection for each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level.

These conditions resulted in OSHA issuing two willful citations, with $56,000 in proposed fines, against the masonry company. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

"Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work, and employers must take all required steps to prevent and minimize this potentially deadly hazard," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "Safe working conditions must not and can never be a matter of luck."

In addition, OSHA determined that the scaffold was not fully planked, which created an additional fall hazard. Furthermore, the agency found that workers were threatened by electrocution, since the scaffold was located less than 18 inches from uninsulated and energized power lines. These conditions resulted in two serious citations with $5,600 in fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

Detailed information on construction fall and scaffolding hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/construction.html.

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