Fort Worth, Texas – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited two contractors for fall hazards and is seeking six-figure penalties. On Sept. 17, OSHA cited RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing workers to fall and silica hazards, a total of nine repeated and six serious violations. The offenses included failing to ensure scaffolding was planked correctly and secured, providing a ladder for safe egress, and inspecting scaffolding. Later, on Sept. 20, the agency cited Neal Weaver, an Ohio-based contractor, with severe eye and fall protection violations. The company has exposed its workers to deadly fall hazards for the sixth time in five years. OSHA is seeking fines totaling $216,265 and $253,556, respectively.
“Fall hazards make roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction,” Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts said in a recent statement. “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights greater than 6 feet are provided with fall protection equipment and are well trained. Too often, OSHA inspectors find employees working on residential roofs without fall protection,” Eberts continued. OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, a total of 5,424 times in the fiscal year (FY) 2020. At the same time, the scaffolding standard (§1926.451) is the fourth most commonly cited standard with a total of 2,538 violations in FY 2020.
Fall Protection is OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard for the 11th Consecutive Year
In fact, for the 11th consecutive fiscal year, Fall Protection – General Requirements is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented this preliminary data from FY 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30) on Oct. 12 during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. Although several standards swapped positions, the criteria that make up the Top 10 Violations remained unchanged from FY 2020. The complete list is as below:-
Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
DENTON, TX – In March 2021, The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected a Forth Worth masonry company. OSHA cited the Texas Masonry Company for fall hazards, as well as silica hazards. OSHA previously cited the company, RRM Masonry and Stucco Inc., for violations in 2018 and 2019.
This inspection took place as part of OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program for construction falls. Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.
The Texas Masonry company cited for fall hazards was issued citations for nine repeat and six serious violations. This included the company failing to ensure that scaffolding was properly planked and secured, and provide a ladder for safe egress and inspect scaffolding. The proposed penalties total $216,265.
Area Director Timothy Minor stated in an OSHA press release, “RM Masonry and Stucco has shown repeated disregard for worker safety. Employers should never put profits before the safety of their workers. OSHA will do everything in its power to protect workers and hold serial violators like this accountable.”
According to OSHA’s press release, RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. is a privately-owned construction company with approximately 40 employees.
RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
BUNNELL, FL – A Florida contractor was cited for fall hazard violations, totaling over $61k. Fall safety is often the number one cited Safety Violation of the year. OSHA released this announcement on April 7th, 2021.
OSHA stated this citation was part of its Regional Emphasis Program for Fall in Construction. The contractor cited for fall hazard violations, P & S Service Group Inc. has repeat violations for failing to ensure employees use fall protection while working from heights greater than 6 feet. The company was cited for a similar violation in October, 2017. The 2021 violation totals $61,575. P & S, a framing and and sheathing contractor, has 15 days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings before OSHA.
According OSHA’s press release, and BizJournals.com OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Florida stated “This employer has repeatedly disregarded the safety of their employees despite previous OSHA violations. Employers must ensure that workers are protected from these well-known hazards.”
MARLTON, NJ – Six contractors were cited for fall safety hazards on a luxury home construction site. OSHA listed the six companies in their press release put out on Monday. Combined, there were 4 willful and 35 serious violations. Most the violations were for failing to provide fall protection or fall protection training. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. They are also repeatedly the number one most frequently cited violation of the year for OSHA.
The penalties total $244,397. One of the six contractors cited for fall safety, Lifetime Contractor Corp., is responsible for over half of those penalties. OSHA began the inspections as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. On October 20th, 2020, a compliance officer observed workers exposed to falls and other hazards. The same was observed during a second inspection the 22nd. This prompted a third inspection on the 31st.
OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick was quoted as saying, “A fall can permanently alter or end a worker’s life in a matter of seconds. Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry have a legal obligation to comply with the law and ensure their workers end their shifts safely. When employers fail to follow requirements, OSHA will hold them responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Martin Technical, in partnership with PIXO VR, offers Fall Protection Training to help companies avoid fines such as these.
Queens, NY – A federal workplace safety investigation has found a construction contractor failed to provide and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards. OSHA conducted the investigation following the death of a worker during the demolition of the Brooklyn building last year.
OSHA’s investigators also determined that the contractor failed to train its workers to recognize and avoid fall hazards. This has caused a worker who engaged in demolishing a building at 1045 Flatbush Ave. to fall 60 feet.
The Citations and Penalties
OSHA cited Richmond Construction Inc. for nine willful, repeat, and six serious violations of workplace safety standards. As a result, the agency is seeking penalties totaling $374K. The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Provide employees with effective fall protection and fall protection training.
Have a competent person inspect the roof, lifeline systems, and fall arrest harnesses before the employees started work. A competent person has the knowledge to spot hazards and the authority to correct them.
Have a qualified person supervise the design, installation, and use of the horizontal lifeline.
Ensure the lifeline system was capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds.
Ensure employees did not connect their fall protection lanyards to anchor points below their harness rings.
Provide eye and ear protection to employees operating jackhammers.
“Richmond Construction Inc. ignored its legal responsibility to protect workers from falls and the result was the loss of a worker’s life. Complying with OSHA standards is not optional. It is required to ensure workers return home unharmed at the end of the day,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in New York City. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
Fall Protection Training requirements are Osha’s Seventh Most Frequently Cited Standard
In conclusion, falls are the number one killer of construction workers. In addition, for the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. At the same time, the Fall Protection Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503) is the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regularworkplace fall protection training. Learn more on VR curriculums developed by subject matter experts. The VR curriculums are able to raise awareness about the risks and preventive measures against fall accidents. Furthermore, it provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production.
MONTICELLO, IL – On February 19th, 2021, two workers at Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. were clearing a bin of debris when the soybeans inside collapsed, engulfing one employee up to their waste. The subsequent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the grain facility exposed workers to engulfment hazards. The total proposed penalties amounted to $303,510.
The agency cited Topflight for four grain-handling violations. This included a willful citation for failing to lockout or de-energize hazardous equipment before allowing workers to enter the bin. OSHA issued another willful violation for failing to post an attendant outside the bin for emergency response. The agency all issued citations for directing employees to work on top of railcars without fall protection and failing to test oxygen levels within before directing employees to work inside the grain bin.
In OSHA’s press release, OSHA Area director Barry Salerno made a statement regarding the grain facility which exposed workers to engulfment hazards. Salerno stated, “Six in ten grain engulfments result in the death of a worker but, like the incident at Topflight Grain Cooperative, they are entirely avoidable. OSHA works diligently with the grain and feed industry to enhance education and safety, but employers must follow industry-recognized standards to protect their workers.”
According to their website, Topflight Grain Cooperative operates 19 grain-producing facilities. These operate across Illinois and process 40 million bushels of grain annually.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
TOCCOA, GA – A recycling plant has been cited in a fatal fall that occurred on December 2020 in Toccoa, GA. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited Scrap Master Inc. after determining they failed to equip stairs and platforms with guardrails to prevent falls, exposing workers to fall hazards.
The inspection also resulted in citations for failures to mount and mark fire extinguishers, repair powered industrial trucks, provide a training program on powered industrial trucks, develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, and prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.
In total, OSHA cited Scrap Masters with eight serious and five repeat violations, which resulted in a proposed $164,308 in penalties.
OSHA Acting Area Director Michael Hejazi was quoted as saying, “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”
The recycling plant cited in the fatal fall, Scrap master Inc. recycles plastic automobile gas tanks, according to OSHA’s press release. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Preventing falls can mean the difference between life and death and is annually one of the top 5 citations by OSHA. Hundreds of workers die from falls each year. You can help prevent such deaths by planning to get the job done safely, providing the right fall protection equipment, and training all workers to use the equipment safely.
FALL PROTECTION TRAINING OPTIONS
Fall Protection Authorized Person Training – 1/2 Day
This course offers an awareness of the issues involved with fall protection and is designed for individuals working at height. The training focus is on best practices in fall protection and the need to protect workers at heights. OSHA regulations and industry standards that govern fall protection are discussed along with the components of a fall protection system including body support, anchorages, connectors and rescue.
Fall Protection Competent Person Training – 2 Days
The Competent Person training is for those that are responsible for the supervision, implementation, and monitoring of a managed fall protection program. This course is based on OSHA regulations as well as ANSI Z359.2 standard and includes lectures, videos as well as fall protection equipment with hands-on workshops that provide real world application to common fall hazards.
Fall Protection Competent Person Train the Trainer – 4 Days
The Competent Train the Trainer course is designed to provide the technical information and instruction methods for those that need to teach authorized and competent fall protection courses for your company. Instruction is based on the requirements of the OSHA regulations and the ANSI Z359.2 standard.
Hayden, AZ – Three workers burned severely by arc flash hazards found at an Arizona metal smelting and extraction facility triggered an OSHA investigation which lead to this week’s announcement of penalties totaling $278,456.
The federal workplace safety agency released its citation against ASARCO this week, claiming two willful violations and one serious violation of electrical hazards standards at the Hayden (AZ) facility.
In its investigation of the arc flash, OSHA inspectors determined that the arc flash occurred after the insertion of a breaker into a 4,160V switchgear. ASARCO was cited for three violations of electrical safety standards: failure to provide the workers with a pre-job briefing before starting work on the energized switchgear, failure to render the electrical breaker inoperable before work began, and failures in providing the employees with arc-flash protective clothing (also known at PPE).
OSHA’s Regional Administrator stated that “arc flash hazards are well known, but can be eliminated when workers are properly trained and protective equipment is provided.”
Not only is electrical safety training required by OSHA, but it’s a vital piece of fulfilling an arc flash analysis or electrical safety program. Once electrical labels are visible, workers need to know how to properly understand the program and read the labels. Employees also need to understand the importance of properly care for their PPE, and how to do so. The need for every worker to understand electrical safety for their equipment and tasks in particular can not be over-stated.
Read more about Arc Flash Analysis and common pitfalls on our website, and contact a member of our Electrical Safety Team today to discuss how Martin Technical can bring awareness to arc flash hazards, get your facility compliant, and increase the safety of your workforce. Martin Technical is the leading provider of practical safety and efficiency services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient.
Leesburg, GA – Combustible dust is among the many hazards found in the last few years at Great Southern Peanut, LLC. The company was placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program last fall for violations documented in 2014, 2016, and again in 2018.
In 2018, the peanut processing plant was issued penalties of $309,505 for serious and repeated workplace safety citations. OSHA inspectors documented failures to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry, provide training on confined space hazards, and also cited Great Southern Peanut for not keeping reduced compressed air to a required level. Additionally, they were found to be in violation of workplace record-keeping requirements.
The finding of one serious violation and one repeat violation at Great Southern Peanut in the fall of 2018, landed it on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. According to OSHA’s Savannah Area Office Director, Great Southern Peanut “failed to adhere to the terms of a formal agreement to correct workplace hazards identified in a previous inspection, continuing to put employees at risk of serious injury.”
In 2016, the Georgia peanut producer was issued approximately $110,000 in fines for numerous repeated safety violations. OSHA’s 2016 inspection at Great Southern Peanut’s Leesburg (GA) facility was a follow up visit to check in the status of a series of citations identified in 2014. Federal workplace safety inspectors documented 13 repeated concerns, which included hazardous accumulations of combustible peanut dust as well as failure to provide protective guards on platforms and open-sided floors.
Their placement on the Severe Violators Enforcement list means that OSHA may inspect any Great Southern Peanut facility if it has reasonable grounds to believe that similar violations might be found. The severe violators program focuses on “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.”