Florida Framer Faces $228K in OSHA Fall-Protection Fines
Originally published by: Durability & Design — July 17, 2014
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A Florida carpentry company faces $228,690 in proposed penalties for failing to provide fall protection at four work sites, according to federal regulators.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Burgos Construction Corp. for four willful, one repeat and two serious safety violations at several work sites throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Founded in 2012, the Land O' Lakes, FL-based company specializes in wood framing and other carpentry in residential structures, such as installing and erecting walls, floor joists, roof trusses and roof sheathing.
Burgos Construction did not respond to a request for comment July 8.
OSHA said it launched its inspection of Burgos Construction in January 2014 as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.
On those inspection dates, OSHA inspectors said employees were performing residential construction without using a fall protection system at four work sites in Lithia, Tampa, Riverview, and Land O' Lakes, FL.
"Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Allowing workers exposure to a fatal fall or serious injury demonstrates the employer's lack of commitment to worker safety,” said Les Grove, OSHA's area director in Tampa.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, fatal work injuries in Florida accounted for 218 of the 4,628 fatal work injuries reported in 2012.
The four willful violations were cited because the employer failed to provide fall protection systems to workers at each of the four job sites where they installed floor joists and conducted framing and roofing work at heights ranging from 9 to 28 feet. OSHA requires a fall protection system when residential activities are 6 feet or greater.
The willful violations carry penalties of $215,600. OSHA considers a willful violation as one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
With a $6,160 penalty, the repeat violation was cited for allowing workers to use a ladder improperly. Burgos Construction was cited for these same violations in May 2013, according to OSHA.
The agency cites repeat violations when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states in the last five years.
The company was also cited with two serious violations, totaling $6,930 in proposed penalties, for failing to provide fall protection training for workers and for allowing employees to access a second floor stairwell that was not protected by handrails on both sides.
Serious violations are those OSHA says occur when there is substantial probability that death or physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.
An OSHA History
According to OSHA, Burgos Construction, which was established in 2012, has been inspected eight times in the last two years and was issued multiple citations for repeat and serious violations of construction standards.
"Burgos Construction has been cited seven times in the past two years for not providing fall protection for its employees engaged in residential construction. Company officials are fully aware of the fall protection requirements," Grove said.
The company has 15 business days from receiving the most recent citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.