OSHA Blasts Massachusetts Demolition Firm for Fall Hazards

OSHA has cited USA Demolition Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a Burlington, Mass., worksite. The Woburn, Mass., contractor faces a total of $86,950 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall hazards identified during OSHA's inspection of the site where USA Demolition was removing a building facade.

OSHA's inspection found USA Demolition employees exposed to falls from 10 to 20 feet while working without fall protection on the building's roof. This situation resulted in the issuance of one willful citation with a proposed fine of $70,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Other fall hazards stemmed from workers entering and exiting elevated aerial lifts without fall protection, standing on the railing of a scissors lift, working from an aerial lift without being tied off to the boom or basket, and standing atop an unopened stepladder. In addition, workers were not provided adequate training in fall protection and ladder use, and a competent person did not conduct inspections that would have identified and corrected these conditions. Employees also lacked head, eye, and face protection and were exposed to a potential crushing hazard from a damaged lifting sling. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 11 serious citations with $16,950 in proposed fines. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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

"Basic fall protection safeguards were disregarded at this worksite, thus exposing workers to potentially serious or deadly injuries," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. "This danger was intensified by the employer's failure to train its workers to recognize and avoid such hazards, and by its failure to conduct a competent inspection that would have spotted and eliminated these hazards."

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

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