OSHA Fines Mount Against Contractors That Neglect Fall, Cave-in Risks to Workers at Sites

Construction companies and utility companies must do a better job at protecting their workers from injury due to peculiar hazards at their worksites.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Martin Davila – operating as Davila Construction – for exposing employees to fall hazards at three separate Missouri job sites in May, June, and August 2019. The residential roofing company faces $205,098 in proposed penalties.

OSHA inspectors issued safety violations at job sites in Wentzville, Grover, and St. Louis. Inspectors cited Davila Construction for failing to provide adequate fall protection for employees working at heights; train employees on fall safety hazards and procedures, and the safe use of ladders; and provide personal protective equipment to employees using pneumatic nail guns. OSHA also alleges the company violated electrical safety standards, and allowed the operation of an internal combustion engines in close proximity to a five-gallon gas can. OSHA also cited Davila for failing to develop and maintain a safety program, a violation for which OSHA cited the company in 2014.

“Workplace safety and health standards are legal requirements adopted to protect workers from hazards on the job,” said OSHA St. Louis Area Director Bill McDonald. “Disregarding required OSHA safety procedures places workers at risk for serious and fatal injuries.”

OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on Protecting Roofing Workerssafely storing flammable materials, and recommendations for developing a safety and health program.

Martin Davila has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Meanwhile,OSHA has cited Ballard Construction Co. Inc. – a sewer and water utilities contractor based in Kellyton, Alabama – for exposing employees to excavation hazards after a worker was injured and hospitalized following a trench collapse. The contractor faces $34,476 in penalties.

The employee was installing gravity sewer systems for residential home lots in Opelika, Alabama, when the collapse occurred. OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work in an excavation that was improperly sloped; and failing to install an adequate protective system, train employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe work environments, and provide a means of safe egress while working in a trench.

“Cave-in protection is required for trenches or excavations that are 5 feet deep or greater,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose Gonzalez. “Employers are legally obligated to slope, shore or shield trench walls to prevent injuries such as this from occurring.”

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

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