Houston Construction Firm Cited for Improper Erection, Inspection of Scaffolds

OSHA has cited Houston, Texas-based Rubio Construction Inc. for 17 alleged serious and eight alleged repeat federal safety and health violations following an inspection at three of the company's worksites in Houston and League City, Texas. The citations carry proposed penalties totaling $144,900.

"This company did not ensure that the scaffolding at each worksite was properly erected and inspected," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director for its Houston South Area Office. "Employees were exposed to fall hazards of up to 24 feet. It was fortunate that no one was injured."

OSHA began its inspection on Feb. 17 when workers were observed on scaffolding without guardrails performing masonry work at the company's worksite on Sam Houston Parkway. Violations also were found at two of the company's other worksites, one elsewhere in Houston, the other in League City.

The serious violations include failing to develop and implement respiratory protection and hazard communication programs, protect workers from impalement hazards such as exposing workers to protruding rebar, provide personal protective equipment, fully cross-brace and have base-plates on scaffolds, inspect scaffolds and remove defective planking boards, provide adequate washing facilities for workers handling cement and for erecting scaffolding in close proximity to overhead power lines.

Repeat violations included failing to provide guardrails on scaffolds at different working levels, provide access ladders and toe boards, and ensure all working levels were fully planked.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Houston, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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