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Painter Fined $460K in 6th OSHA Case

Thursday, December 5, 2013

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A Long Island, NY, painting and stucco contractor has added 15 new federal health and safety citations and more than $460,000 in fines to the 50-plus citations and $400,000-plus in fines it has racked up since 2007.

No one has been killed working for Painting & Decorating Inc. (also known as AG Painting & Decorating Inc.), of Ronkonkoma, NY, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has landed on the firm anyway, with its sixth case in six years focusing on scaffolding and fall-protection hazards.

Images: OSHA

Scaffolding violations make up a significant number of OSHA citations. Standards and more resources are available here.

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction-related industries, and scaffolding violations are a leading category of OSHA citations.

'Ongoing Failure and Refusal'

The latest case follows an inspection May 31 at a work site in Manhasset, NY, in which Painting & Decorating employees were working more than 26 feet up without fall protection, according to OSHA.

In all, the company was issued 10 repeat and five serious citations and fined a total of $460,350.

"The sizable fines proposed reflect the ongoing failure and refusal by this employer to provide basic safeguards for its employees," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director. "Workers have repeatedly been exposed to deadly or disabling falls and crushing injuries."

The company could not be located for comment on Wednesday (Dec. 4).

Shaky Scaffolding

The serious citations allege that employees were working at 26 1/2 feet up on scaffolding that was not braced or plumbed. Nor were the footings sound, allowing the scaffolding to shift and settle, and workers were climbing the cross braces of the structure to get on and off it, OSHA said.

ImproperScaffold ImproperScaffolding

The scaffold at left improperly mixes components in the same structure and lacks complete guardrails. The structure at right leaves gaps in the walking surface and lacks midrails and toeboards. More information is available on OSHA's e-Tool on Improper Scaffold Construction.

Another worker was building a scaffold at 13 feet up without fall protection, while others were mixing and applying a silica-containing stucco compound without face or eye protection, inspectors said.

Serious violations reflect substantial probability of death or serious injury from the hazard.

Repeat Repeat Violations

The 10 repeat citations allege a lengthy list of hazards that the company has been accused or convicted of multiple times, according to OSHA. These include:

  • Lack of helmets for employees working underneath tools, buckets of stucco, and other items (a violation cited on three previous occasions);
  • Incomplete planking and decking on scaffolds up to 26 1/2 feet high, allowing gaps and holes in the structure (the subject of three earlier repeat and three earlier willful violations);
  • Lack of tipping restraints on scaffolds up to 26 1/2 feet high (one previous citation) and lack of bracing of scaffold frames (two previous citations);

About 2.3 million workers (including 65 percent of the construction industry) works on scaffolds frequently, OSHA notes in its Scaffolding e-Tool.

  • Lack of appropriate access to scaffolding, forcing employees to climb crossbraces (three earlier repeat and three earlier willful citations);
  • Failure to inspect scaffolds, to have scaffold construction supervised by a competent person, and to train employees in erecting scaffolds (two earlier repeat citations for each violation);
  • Lack of personal fall protection or scaffolding guardrails for employees working 13 1/2 to 26 1/2 feet high (three earlier repeat and three earlier willful citations); and
  • Lack of protection from falling objects, including five-gallon buckets of stucco (two previous citations).

5 Cases, 6 Years

This is the sixth time that Painting & Decorating Inc. has been inspected and cited since 2007, according to OSHA records. The previous record involves:

  • 13 violations (reduced to 11; $16,800 fine reduced to $8,400) in January 2007;

The cases from 2008, 2009 and 2010 all show tentative reductions in fines, but all of the cases remain open.


Tagged categories: Commercial contractors; Enforcement; Fall protection; OSHA; Painting Contractor; Personal protective equipment; Residential contractors; Scaffolding; Silica; Stucco

Comment from M. Halliwell, (12/5/2013, 11:24 AM)

Really? I mean, really!?!? Come on P&D (AGP&D), you're one of the folks that makes folks like me want to permanently shut you down and put your corporate officers in jail. Multiple, multiple, multiple willful and repeat violations *shakes head* This is the sort of thing that when (not if....your current record indicates it'll only be a matter of time) you kill a worker, your corporate officers should be charged with negligent homicide (at the least) or murder because such willful disregard for safety after so many citations has to be an intentional act.

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