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Conn. contractor removes flooring, exposes workers to wall collapse, fall hazards

OSHA Enforcement ActivityA Stamford, Connecticut-based contractor faces $196,000 in fines for 14 violations following an OSHA inspection that uncovered multiple hazards stemming from the company’s failure to brace the building's walls and adhere to basic, legally required safeguards.

Cesar Mendoza, d.b.a. KI Management LLC, was cited by the agency following a November 2013 inspection at a Bridgeport worksite, where workers were demolishing and rehabbing a building.

"The removal of flooring from the second and thirds floors left an empty, unsupported shell that was vulnerable to collapse," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "Employees at this job site were also exposed to falls of up to 36 feet from unguarded wall openings and to health hazards from inadequate measures to protect them from exposure to lead at the worksite. Worker safety and health were blatantly ignored."

In commenting on the enforcement action, OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels referenced the June 5, 2013, building collapse in Philadelphia that killed six people and injured 14.

"While no collapse occurred in Bridgeport, the hazard was real, present and entirely avoidable," said Michaels.

Violations included having workers dry sweep and shovel lead-containing waste materials and debris, as well as failing to supply workers with proper training, respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment. In addition, employees were provided inadequate demolition, fall and fire protection, and general safety training.

Other safety hazards included unmarked emergency exits, improper storage of oxygen and fuel gas cylinders, and electrical hazards.

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