Scaffold Collapse Injures Workers, Results in Nearly $55K Fine

OSHA has cited a Quincy, Mass., contractor for 15 alleged serious violations of safety standards following the collapse of a ladder jack scaffold at a worksite in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood. The incident, which took place Aug. 5, 2009, left four workers injured. Legacy Builders LLC faces a total of $54,750 in fines.

OSHA's inspection found that the ladder jack scaffold was overloaded beyond its rated weight capacity and erected with a damaged wooden work platform. Both the employees working on the scaffold and those performing shingling work on the roof were exposed to falls from 14 to 17 feet due to missing or inadequate fall protection safeguards and a lack of training in the recognition of fall protection and scaffold hazards, the agency said.

Additional fall hazards stemmed from damaged, misused, or inadequate extension ladders; no proper access to the scaffold work platform; improperly tied off lifelines, and workers carrying bundles of roofing shingles while climbing ladders. Workers also lacked required head and eye protection.

"This case is a clear example of what can and does happen when adequate and effective scaffolding and fall protection are lacking at a jobsite," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "While it is fortunate that these workers were not killed, workplace safety cannot and must never be a matter of fortune. The lives and well-being of workers depend on complete, effective and continual adherence to standards meant to protect them against work-related hazards."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Boston South Area Office in Braintree, Mass.

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