At most cases, one negative OSHA inspection is all it takes to turn a company’s poor safety standards around. For some, like 4 Brothers Stucco Co., the third time’s a charm.
OSHA has proposed $118,650 in fines against the Cleveland, Tenn.-based 4 Brothers for 15 alleged repeat violations of safety standards, making this citation the third in three consecutive years for the stucco contractor.
The latest inspection discovered employees exposed to falls of up to 22 feet when working on scaffolding, in an aerial lift and on the roof of a worksite. OSHA also identified electrical, overhead and chemical hazard communication (HAZCOM) weaknesses at the worksite.
"These sizable fines reflect both the seriousness and recurring nature of several of the conditions cited here," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford, Conn. "Keep in mind that falls are the number one killer in construction work and can occur in an instant. Be it a scaffold, an aerial lift, or a roof, proper and effective fall protection must be in place and in use at all times."
The latest inspection resulted in six repeat citations for violations ranging from no fall protection for employees in an aerial lift, to workers not wearing helmets and employees not trained to recognize scaffold hazards. Similar violations were also found in 2007 and 2008.
OSHA issues serious violations in instances where death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known about the danger.
It’s most important to note that out of the latest set of nine serious citations 4 Brothers received included “lack of a hazard communication program, training, material safety data sheets, and protective gloves for employees working with cement and hazardous chemicals.”
There’s an alarming trend emerging as the economy suffers that has more businesses including necessary OSHA safety training in their budget cuts. It may seem like cutting safety training could help some companies save money, but it will only put more workers at risk for serious injury and death, leading to increased OSHA fines, workers’ compensation claims and wrongful injury lawsuits.
With the total cost of work-related injuries in the U.S. is more than $50 billion annually, it should be a clear sign that cutting workplace safety corners, especially employee safety training, puts the success of your business in serious danger.
As our country continues to work through this recession, the demand for cost-effective safety training has never been higher. G.Neil is answering that call with affordable safety training products that take the guesswork out of OSHA compliance and help keep your employees safe from workplace hazards.