Contractor Fined for 3rd Consecutive Year, This Time for $120,750

A Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based masonry contractor with a history of worksite safety violations has again been cited by OSHA. The latest inspection on Painting and Decorating Inc. began Jan. 23 when an OSHA inspector from the agency's Queens district office drove by the firm's worksite in Forest Hills, N.Y., and observed employees performing stucco work on a 13-foot-high scaffold without guardrails or a fall protection system.

After a full investigation, the inspector also found that the company had not fully planked the scaffold, provided a ladder for workers to access the scaffold, or made sure the workers had protective helmets. The inspector further found that PDI was using makeshift devices to increase the scaffold's height.

OSHA cited PDI for five alleged repeat violations with a total of $120,750. The agency issues repeat citations when an employer has been previously cited for substantially similar hazards and those citations have become final. In this case, OSHA cited PDI in 2007 and 2008 at worksites in Kings Point and Great Neck, N.Y.

"The size of these fines reflects the gravity and recurring nature of these hazards, any one of which could have resulted in death or disabling injury for these workers," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. "This is the fourth time in three years that this employer has been cited for substantially similar hazards and that is unacceptable. It's time for this employer to make safety a priority at all its jobsites."

PDI has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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

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