OSHA Cites Ga. Contractor Following Fatality; $38,900 in Fines Proposed

December 30, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Nathan Jenkins Construction for allegedly exposing workers to fall hazards at a Savannah, Ga., home building site. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $38,900.

“Fall hazards, a leading killer of workers in this region, are easy to identify and correct,” said John Deifer, OSHA’s Savannah area director. “This builder was aware of fall protection requirements, but failed to implement them.”

OSHA investigators determined that on July 5 company employees were installing fascia boards to the eave of a single-family home when a portion of the scaffolding, which had been nailed to the side of the house, collapsed and an employee fell 25 feet to the ground. The employee died the next day.

The company received one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $21,000, for allowing employees to work without fall protection. According to OSHA’s report, the general contractor had notified Jenkins that fall protection was required.

Jenkins also received 10 serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $17,900, for reportedly failing to: properly design and install scaffolding under the supervision of a competent person; train employees in hazard recognition, and provide safe access to scaffolding platforms. The citations also charged Jenkins with exposing employees to falls from unsupported decking, unguarded stairways, floor edges and through floor openings.

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. OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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