Oct. 19, 2016
Temporary workers rigging steel at Columbus building site at risk
of 6-story falls as employers failed to provide fall protection, training
OSHA cites general contractor, Seneca Steel and employment agency after investigation
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The absence of fall protection equipment exposed six temporary employees to falls of up to 60 feet as they welded and attached steel braces on a commercial construction site in Columbus. A dangerous oversight given that falls account for nearly 40 percent of work-related fatalities - the construction industry's leading cause of death.
Responding to a report of unsafe working conditions, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration observed inadequate fall protection for workers at a building site for Alliance Data System in the 3000 block of Loyalty Circle, on July 12, 2016.
On Oct. 19, 2016, OSHA issued violations to the workers' employer Seneca Steel Erectors Inc., Construction Labor Contractors, the temporary employment agency that provided the workers, and The Daimler Group, the site's general contractor.
Since 2010, OSHA has recorded more than 100 safety and health violations at Dollar General stores nationwide, and assessed more than $1 million in proposed fines.
"Asking workers to walk steel and work in aerial lifts at heights of 60 feet without fall protection is reckless and needlessly exposes them to the risks of serious injury and death," said Larry Johnson, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are jointly responsible for a temporary employee's safety and health. General contractors also have a responsibility to inspect job sites and ensure safety procedures are followed."
The agency cited Seneca Steel Erectors Inc. of Dublin, for eight serious and two repeated violations carrying proposed penalties of $92,286. The agency found Seneca failed to:
Ensure workers attached themselves to the basket of the aerial lift and stood firmly on the floor of the lift basket during operations. OSHA cited the company for these same violations in February 2013 at a job site in Dublin.
Provide required fall protection.
Prevent loads on the boom and lift basket from exceeding limits.
Train employees on how to operate aerial lifts and understand fall hazards.
Provide a qualified rigger.
View citations here.
OSHA also issued three serious violations to Construction Labor Contractors for failing to provide a qualified rigger, to train employees about fall hazards and proper operation of aerial lifts. OSHA has proposed penalties of $37,413 to Richfield-based company. View citations here.
The agency cited the Daimler Group for failing to train workers in fall hazards and conduct site inspections. The company faces penalties of $17,460. View citations here.
Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce the numbers of preventable, fall-related deaths in the construction industry. OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.
The ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, the campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use gear properly.
All three companies have 15 business days from receipt of its 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Columbus Area Office at (614) 469-5582.
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 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 http://www.osha.gov.
As the construction industry continues to grow, falls continue to be the leading cause of death. Source: http://www.bls.gov
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Things have changed a lot since then.