Last week, a masonry contractor located in Huntington Valley, PA was cited once again by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing their employees/bricklayers to fall hazards at two Philadelphia residential work sites. The company faces a proposed penalty of $100,560. *Source: www.osha.gov
OSHA's inspection of the two Philadelphia work sites took place in May 2014 and occurred after reports by inspectors at the Philadelphia Department of License and Inspections.
When the OSHA inspector arrived on the two work sites located at South 23rd and Kimball Streets and 1024 South 19th St., the bricklayers were working on scaffolding at heights greater than 20 feet and as high as 30 feet without the use of any fall protection. In addition, workers were also exposed to other scaffolding safety hazards and were not trained properly. These practices are all in direct violation of OSHA regulations relating to workers working from heights. Apparently, the company was previously cited by OSHA in 2012 and 2014 for similar violations.
The director of OSHA's Philadelphia area office stated, "A fall at these heights would result in permanent disability or death."
Having proper fall protection and training are crucial for workers who work from heights on scaffolds. It is a matter of life and death.
Section 1926.454(a) of OSHA regulations clearly spells out the employer's duty to provide training for workers who perform work while on scaffolds:
The employer shall have each employee who performs work while on a scaffold trained by a person qualified in the subject matter to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used and to understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards. The training shall include the following areas, as applicable:
(1) The nature of any electrical hazards, fall hazards and falling object hazards in the work area;
(2) The correct procedures for dealing with electrical hazards and for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling the fall protection systems and falling object protection systems being used;
(3) The proper use of the scaffold, and the proper handling of materials on the scaffold;
(4) The maximum intended load and the load-carrying capacities of the scaffolds used; and
(5) Any other pertinent requirements of this subpart.
It is unacceptable for employers/contractors to not provide proper fall protection or training for their workers. What's more appalling is that this isn't the first time the company was cited for the same behavior.
Though injured workers who fall from heights generally cannot sue their employers, they may be able to if the employers committed intentional wrongs. See Can You Sue Your Employer In PA For A Workplace Injury?
An employer's repeated and intentional failure to provide fall protection and training to workers working from heights while knowing the risk of injury or death may be considered an intentional wrong.
If you or a loved one fell from a scaffold and was seriously injured at a PA work site, contact Daniel J. O'Brien to explore your legal options. In addition to receiving workers' comp benefits, you may be able to recover from your employer and/or other third parties. FREE consultations. 877.944.8396