OSHA Blasts Demolition Contractor for Lead, Fall Hazards

The company was issued two willful citations with $42,000 in fines and seven serious citations with $10,500 in fines.

OSHA has cited MJ Scoville Inc., a Binghamton, N.Y., demolition contractor, for nine willful and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at a building renovation site. The contractor faces a total of $52,500 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall and lead hazards.

OSHA's inspection found Scoville employees exposed to falls of up to 40 feet while working without fall protection as they took down the walls of a fourth floor elevator shaft as well as 14-foot falls from an unguarded scaffold. The employer also failed to conduct personal air monitoring to determine lead exposure levels for employees performing demolition work with materials known to be covered with lead paint, and did not implement interim protective measures including respiratory protection, biological monitoring, medical surveillance, clean change areas, and employee training on lead hazards.

"These are two of the most common and well-known hazards workers can face during demolition operations and must be effectively addressed by the employer on each and every jobsite," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "Falls can injure or kill a worker in seconds while lead exposure can damage the kidneys and the central nervous, cardiovascular, reproductive, and hematological systems."

The company was issued two willful citations with $42,000 in fines and seven serious citations with $10,500 in fines. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health. 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 these and other hazards associated with demolition work, as well as solutions and safeguards, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiondemolition/index.html.

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