OSHA Proposes $59,400 in Penalties for Houston Company for Reported Safety Violations

September 7, 2004

A Houston employer’s repeated failure to protect employees from potential scaffolding and fall hazards has brought Leonel Rubio Masonry in Houston $59,400 in proposed penalties, according to the U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Leonel Rubio Masonry, a bricklaying company that employs approximately 27 workers, was issued citations for alleged serious and repeat safety violations following an inspection by OSHA’s Houston South area office that began April 30. The inspection began as part of a special emphasis program aimed at preventing injuries from falls. Employees were reportedly found working on inadequate scaffolds and were not protected from fall hazards.

“This company has repeatedly jeopardized the safety of its workers by not following OSHA’s standards for scaffold safety,” said Chuck Williams, OSHA’s Houston South area office director. “This is the fourth time in a two-year period that Leonel Rubio Masonry has been cited for similar violations. The company’s failure to provide a safe and healthful working environment is not acceptable.”

The six alleged serious violations include failing to have scaffolds designed using OSHA’s standards and failing to provide training for workers to recognize hazardous conditions. A serious violation one in which there is substantially probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The six alleged repeat violations include failing to provide guardrails on scaffolds, failing to provide employees with ladders to access, failing to properly deck the scaffolds, failing to provide hard hats, and failing to provide toe boards. 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.

Three previous OSHA inspections were conducted in Oklahoma City, Fort Worth and Houston, for similar violations, resulting in penalties totaling more than $45,000.

The employer 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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