OSHA Sticks Stucco Contractor with $49,600 Fine for Fall Hazards

OSHA has cited JLC Stucco Co. for alleged workplace safety hazards involving falls at a worksite in Somerset, N.J. Proposed penalties total $49,600. The agency initiated its inspection on Nov. 16, 2009, as part of a local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in the construction industry. As a result, the company has been issued citations for three willful violations, with a penalty of $42,000; one repeat violation, with a penalty of $5,600; and two serious violations, with a penalty of $2,000.

“Employees were exposed to a potentially fatal fall hazard of more than 13 feet from scaffolds while applying a final coat of stucco to a building,” said Patricia Jones, director of the OSHA office in Avenel, N.J. “The company can effectively address these and any future hazards by implementing a comprehensive safety and health management system.”

The willful violations are for failure to adequately plank the scaffold platform; provide workers with a ladder for safe access to scaffold platforms; and provide workers with fall protection. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The repeat violation is for the company’s use of a scaffold that was missing cross bracing. A repeat violation is issued when an employer has had a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order at any of its facilities in the past.

The serious violations reflect the company’s failure to have a competent person inspect the scaffold and train workers to recognize hazards associated with a scaffold. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Detailed information on scaffold hazards and safe work practices, including an interactive e-Tool, is available online at www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.

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