OSHA Citation to General Contractor Underscores the Need for Proper Equipment and Safety and Health Programs

OSHA recently cited a Florida general contractor – retained to restore the concrete finish on high-rise apartment buildings – for 17 “serious” safety and health violations and proposed penalties of $119,000. (A “serious” violation occurs 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.)

The inspection was initiated after OSHA received complaints alleging fall hazards at two work sites. OSHA charges that the company exposed workers to falls of more than 200 feet in view of improperly assembled scaffolding that was also not properly secured to the building. The employer also allegedly failed to properly inspect the scaffolding prior to each use and further did not develop a written respiratory protection program for workers exposed to silica while restoring concrete. Additional violations included the failure to implement a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to high noise levels.

As stated by Condell Eastmond, director of OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale Area Office, the cited contractor “needs to review its safety procedures and make immediate changes.”

OSHA’s citation of this general contractor highlights the importance of providing workers with proper fall protection and also creating and implementing safety and health programs. OSHA provides guidance on these subjects, including sample safety and health programs relating to the following: bloodborne pathogens; fall protection; general safety and health programs; hazard communication standard; lockout/tagout; powered industrial trucks; respiratory protection; shipyard employment; and tuberculosis. OSHA publications relating to safety and health programs may also be found here.

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