Unsafe scaffolding spotted by health and safety inspectors who were driving by a suburban Atlanta construction site led to $125,000 in proposed penalties against five contractors, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said.
OSHA said workers building a Bojangles Restaurant in Lilburn, Georgia, were doing stucco and brick work on an unsafe scaffolding system. The agency initiated an inspection as part of its Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction, which is the most common cause of workplace fatalities in the industry.
OSHA found willful, repeated and serious safety violations. It cited Greenway Construction Inc., W.H. Bass Inc., Juan Diaz, MMC Construction LLC and TWS Floor Covering LLC.
“Our investigation found that several contractors were ignoring basic rules about fall protection and created unsafe working conditions,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “In this case, the project was behind schedule and the employers chose to put profits ahead of the safety of their workers.”
General contractor W.H. Bass, of Duluth, was issued three serious citations for exposing workers to fall hazards by not ensuring the scaffolding system was fully planked, allowing employees to climb the frame of the scaffolding instead of using a ladder and exposing workers below them to falling material and tools. Additionally, Greenway, Juan Diaz and MMC were each cited for one serious violation for exposing workers below them to falling debris. Diaz received a serious violation, and Greenway a repeated citation, for not fully planking the scaffold. Diaz was also cited for a willful, and MMC a repeated violation, for permitting workers to climb the scaffold instead of using a ladder.
OSHA cited Greenway Construction, of Doraville, for one additional repeated and two serious violations. The repeated violation was for exposing workers to falls up to 7 feet by not having a ladder at the rear of the scaffold. The serious violations involve not ensuring the scaffold boards extended beyond the centerline for support and allowing employees to stand on a pile of blocks, while on the scaffold, to increase the worker’s reach.
OSHA proposes that Greenway Construction be placed in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program for demonstrating indifference to its obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.
Juan Diaz, a masonry contractor, was also issued six additional serious and one other-than-serious citation. The serious violations include exposing workers to an unprotected belt and pulley on the mortar mixer and failure to install connecting pins on the scaffolding and to extend the scaffold boards beyond the centerline for support. Additional serious violations include not installing guardrails on the scaffolding and allowing employees to work at heights up to 13 feet without fall protection. The other-than-serious violation involved failure to certify that employees were trained to wear fall protection.
MMC Construction, of Lawrenceville, was cited for three additional serious violations because it permitted employees to climb a broken and separated frame scaffold, did not install connecting pins on scaffolding and let workers stand on stacked foam to reach a higher level.
TWS Floor Covering, a tile and terrazzo contractor, was cited for one serious and two other-than-serious violations for not establishing a written respiratory program and electrical hazards.