The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Bartow, Fla.-based Atlantic Scaffolding Inc. following investigation of a fatal accident at an International Paper Company facility in Augusta, Ga. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $78,000.
The accident occurred Dec. 12 as Atlantic Scaffolding employees were dismantling a 14-level, 100-foot high scaffold erected inside a boiler. Crew members were allegedly removing planks at the fourth level when one employee, reaching out to receive a plank from another employee, stepped into an opening and fell 21 feet to the bottom of the boiler.
“If the safety harnesses worn by these workers had been properly attached to a lifeline, this tragic accident would have been prevented,” said Gei Thae Breezley, OSHA’s Atlanta-East area director. “Two years ago, this company had a similar accident and knew the hazards involved in not tying off.”
OSHA issued one willful citation, with a proposed maximum penalty of $70,000, for failing to provide employees with proper fall arrest systems. A willful citation is issued when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The company received two serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $3,000, for failing to train employees on fall protection, including recognizing and reducing scaffolding hazards, and failing to have guard rails on scaffolding stairways. Additionally, the company received a proposed penalty of $5,000 for failing to notify OSHA of a fatal accident within the required eight-hour period.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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