OSHA Cites Demolition Contractors for Safety, Health Hazards

December 16, 2005

The U.S. Department of Labor’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Demolition Contractors Inc. (DCI) for alleged failure to protect employees from safety and health hazards during demolition operations on a portion of the Crossroads Shopping Mall. OSHA issued 13 citations against the company with proposed penalties that total $265,000.

“We initiated a safety inspection July 1 focused on employee exposure to fall hazards,” said Charles Adkins, CIH, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City. “A health inspection began July 20 to address potential employee overexposure to silica. The citations issued are a result of these inspections.”

Four willful safety citations allege the company failed to provide an enclosed chute to contain materials and concrete debris dumped over the edge of the building; did not use guardrails, safety nets or other arrest systems to protect workers from falls; failed to ensure that all floor holes were guarded appropriately; and failed to install barriers to prevent heavy equipment from driving into floor holes when dumping debris. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Serious safety citations addressed the employer’s alleged failure to: ensure all employees wore appropriate personal protective equipment when exposed to hazardous conditions; provide fall protection systems to protect employees when working 6 feet above lower levels; protect employees from falling objects; and establish or maintain frequent inspections of the job site, materials and equipment. Serious violations occur when there is probability of death or serious physical harm and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

“During the health inspection, we documented employee overexposure to crystalline quartz silica,” Adkins said. “We issued the company one willful health citation for failure to provide suitable respiratory protection and failure to assess employee exposure to silica.”

Three health citations classified as serious alleged silica overexposure and failure to implement administrative or engineering controls; failure to provide hazardous communication training for such exposure; employee noise overexposure, and failure to require the use of hearing protectors to reduce noise exposures.

DCI has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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