OSHA's new fall prevention wallet cardBricklayers were exposed to fall hazards as high as 30 feet above the ground while creating the exterior finish of new single-family dwellings at two work sites in Philadelphia, according to workplace safety and health citations issued against Vyacheslav Leshko, doing business as T and S Masonry LLC. OSHA officials conducted the inspections after inspectors from the Philadelphia Department of License and Inspections made referrals to the department.

Disability or death

Employees of the Huntington Valley masonry contractor worked on scaffolding at elevations greater than 20 feet without the use of fall protection. The two imminent danger inspections were conducted only weeks apart in May 2014, and resulted in a proposed combined penalty totaling $100,560.

"T and S Masonry is taking unnecessary chances with worker safety by not providing fall protection for bricklayers working at heights ranging from 25 to 30 feet," said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia Area Office. "A fall at these heights would result in permanent disability or death."

Upon arriving at the work sites located at South 23rd and Kimball Streets and 1024 S. 19th St., OSHA inspectors observed workers on scaffolds conducting bricklaying activities without fall protection. Workers also were exposed to other scaffolding safety hazards and were not trained properly. Consequently, T and S Masonry faces $83,160 in penalties for eight alleged repeat violations, which include fall hazards related to scaffolding use. The company was previously cited for this in 2012 and 2014.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, the latest year for which data is available, more than 2,000 workers nationwide suffered injuries because of scaffold hazards.

Corrosive cement, no PPE

Inspectors also cited the company for five serious violations, with $17,400 in penalties, for lack of a safety and health program and hazards, including the use of corrosive cement without providing proper personal protective equipment. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.