Fall Hazards, Multiple Repeat Violations Lead to Contractor's $180,100 Fine

OSHA's inspection found a lack of fall protection for employees working on scaffolding and work surfaces at heights of up to 57 feet.

OSHA has cited Twin Pines Construction Inc./Teles Construction Inc. for alleged repeat, serious, and other-than-serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of a Portsmouth, N.H., worksite. The Everett, Mass., framing contractor faces a total of $180,100 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall, scaffolding, and electrical hazards.

The inspection was opened after an OSHA inspector observed an employee working without fall protection at the fifth-floor level of a building under construction. The inspection found a lack of fall protection for employees working on scaffolding and work surfaces at heights of up to 57 feet. An additional fall hazard stemmed from the use of a 6-foot ladder to access a 10-foot-high surface. Employees also were exposed to electric shocks and burns from using ungrounded electrical extension cords.

Between 2008 and 2010, Twin Pines/Teles was cited for similar hazards at work sites in Scarborough, Maine; Newbury and Salisbury, Mass.; and North Kingstown and South Kingstown, R.I. As a result of this history, OSHA issued citations for four repeat violations with $130,500 in proposed penalties.

"The sizable fines proposed here reflect both the gravity of these hazards and this employer's significant and continuing history of safety violations," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "Each time it allows these hazards to recur, it exposes employees to the risk of death or disabling injuries."

Additionally, eight serious violations with $46,300 in fines involved improperly erected scaffolding; no inspection by a competent person with the knowledge and authority to identify and correct scaffolding hazards; uncovered floor holes; failure to keep the fifth-floor work area, as well as areas around the top and bottom of ladders, free of construction debris; and lack of eye protection for employees using nail guns.

Three other-than-serious violations with $3,300 in fines were cited for not providing injury and illness logs to OSHA in a timely manner.

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