OSHA cites College Station, Texas, construction firm for "repeatedly putting its workers in harm's way" (5/26)
"This employer has repeatedly put its workers in harm's way," said Bill Burke, OSHA's deputy regional administrator in Dallas, Texas. "Circular saw guards were tied back, exposing workers to possible amputation of hands or fingers."
OSHA's Austin Area Office began its investigation Feb. 2 at the company's worksite at 4225 Rock Bend Drive, where six employees were engaged in building and framing a private residence. The inspection was initiated under the agency's Construction Hazards Emphasis Program when an OSHA inspector observed employees working at heights of more than 14 feet without the use of fall protection. In 2009, OSHA cited the company $16,750 for 12 serious violations, including failing to provide fall protection, personal protective equipment and to protect employees from electrical hazards.
The serious violations include failing to provide frequent and regular inspections of jobsites and equipment, to ensure that manufacturer's guidelines were followed in the use of step ladders and to ensure that safety devices on automatic fastening equipment, such as nail guns, were functioning. A serious violation is one for which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Repeat violations include failing to train employees in the recognition and avoidance of hazardous working conditions, to ensure working space is kept clear of debris, to provide personal protection equipment such as hard hats and eye goggles, to ensure extension cords were provided with grounding pins, to train employees on the hazards of scaffolding and to provide fall protection to workers at elevated levels of 14 feet or more. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states.
The Richard Hargrove Co., which employs about 32 workers in College Station, has 15 working days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin, Texas, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271 or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.