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NJ construction workers: 35 feet up without fall protection

September 6, 2012
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occupational fallsThe Department of Labor’s (DOL) campaign to make working at height safer – and thus reduce construction fall fatalities – is apparently falling on deaf ears in New Jersey, at least where one company is concerned.

OSHA has cited Brick-based La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc. for nine safety and health violations -- two of them repeat --at a Secaucus work site. OSHA's March investigation was initiated in response to an imminent danger complaint alleging employees were working on the fifth level of a supported scaffold without fall protection. Proposed penalties total $74,830.

Company earns same penalties in 2006, 07, 11 and 12

The repeat safety violations involve failing to provide safe access to a scaffold and ensure workers were not exposed to a 35-foot fall while working on an unguarded scaffold. The company was cited for similar violations in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

Six serious safety and health violations include failing to properly store propane tanks; ensure a competent person inspected a scaffold before employees worked on it; establish and implement a written respiratory protection program for workers required to wear respirators, including medical evaluations and respiratory protection training; develop and implement an effective written hazard communication program for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals, including crystalline silica; provide chemical hazard training to employees working with hazardous chemicals; and maintain material safety data sheets.

"This employer continues to jeopardize the safety and health of its workers by failing to correct these hazards, which is unacceptable," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office.

The company also has received one other-than-serious violation, with no penalty, for failure to provide respirator fit testing and evaluate employees for safe use of powered industrial truck.

La Conti Concrete & Masonry Inc. employed 34 workers at the Secaucus work site.

DOL distributes resources to prevent construction industry falls

The DOL launched a campaign in April aimed at providing employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and more than 250 workers were killed. More detailed information is available in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

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