OSHA Proposing $60,000 in Penalties Against Houston Company for Reported Safety Violations

June 25, 2004

A Houston construction company’s alleged failure to properly train employees and follow safety standards has resulted in proposed penalties totaling $60,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA cited Eveready Construction Co., a brick laying company that employs about 15 workers, for three alleged serious and six alleged repeat violations following an inspection that began Feb. 27 as part of a local emphasis program aimed at preventing fall hazards in construction work. The inspection, which took place at a company worksite in LaMarque, Texas, found that employees working on scaffolds were not provided with adequate fall protection equipment.

“Health and safety standards must be followed to save lives and prevent injuries,” said Chuck Williams, director of OSHA’s Houston South area office. “This company has been cited on two other occasions in the past two years for the same violations.”

The alleged serious violations included failing to protect employees from fall hazards, not retraining employees and not instructing them in recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from the hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The alleged repeat violations included failing to provide guardrails on scaffolds; failing to provide employees with ladders for access; failing to properly deck the scaffolds; failing to provide personal protective equipment, in this situation hard hats; and failing to provide toeboards. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an inspection reveals a violation for which the employer had been previously cited, and where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

The two previous inspections in November 2002 and September 2003 for similar violations resulted in penalties totaling more than $13,000.

Eveready Construction has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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