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'One Slip Away from Death'

Thursday, February 26, 2015

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A Florida subcontractor with multiple egregious fall violations already under its belt is facing a new case that carries nearly $80,000 in fines.

Transformers Construction Services Inc., of Jacksonville, FL, "is aware workers need to be protected from dangerous falls, but deliberately allows employees to work one slip away from death," said Brian Sturtecky, area director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has brought the new case.

5 Cases, 4 Years

OSHA issued one willful citation, carrying a $70,000 fine, against Transformers Construction for allowing employees to conduct residential roofing work at heights up to 16 feet without fall protection.

Roofers
iStock.com / SimplyCreativePhotography

Falls are the top cause of death in construction, and fall protection violations are a leading source of OSHA citations. This inspection was initiated as part of a regional crackdown on fall violations.

The OSHA citations note that the company has been cited for willful, repeat and serious violations of the same standard on five occasions since 2011.

All of the earlier cases were contested, and all of the citations were affirmed on appeal, the citations show.

OSHA's enforcement records were unavailable Wednesday (Feb. 25), so the earlier penalties and status of those cases could not be determined.

Transformers Construction Services could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The company has no website, and the listed phone number was disconnected.

'A Blind Eye'

The current case involves lack of fall protection on a homebuilding project Oct. 1, 2014, in St. Johns FL. According to OSHA, employees were working up to 16 feet high without guardrails, safety nets or personal fall protection.

FLhomebuildingsite
Google Street View

The new citations, like the previous cases, allege violations at a Florida homebuilding site.

The inspection was initiatied under the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.

The serious violations allege failure to:

  • Properly brace roof trusses so they would not collapse; and
  • Provide a ladder or stairs for workers to access the upper level of the roof.

Proposed penalties in the case total $79,900.

Transformers was working as a subcontractor for A&G Construction Group Inc., of Jacksonville. A&G was not cited in the case, but OSHA offered a general warning to general contractors about ensuring safety on their projects.

"Home builders and general contractors that continue to hire and turn a blind eye to their sub-contractor's poor safety record is an unacceptable work practice," Sturtecky said.

 

   

Tagged categories: Certifications and standards; Fall protection; Health and safety; OSHA; Residential Construction; Roofing contractors; Subcontractors

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