The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited seven Georgia contractors, and proposed penalties totaling $126,575, following the investigation of a fatal accident Aug. 25, 2005, at a school construction site in Ailey, Ga.
According to OSHA’s report, the accident occurred when two workers in an elevated forklift basket were installing steel beams to the roof of a Montgomery County school building under construction. As they slid the beam into place, the basket flipped off the forklift, throwing the workers and the basket to the ground. The basket hit one employee causing fatal injuries.
“This tragic accident could have been prevented if the forklift had been equipped and operated according to OSHA regulations,” said John Deifer, OSHA’s Savannah area director.
OSHA issued two willful citations, with proposed penalties of $112,000, against K & B Metal Works, for failing to properly secure a forklift personnel basket and to provide workers with fall protection equipment during steel erection activities. The Ray City-based company also received two serious citations, with proposed penalties of $3,600, for operating a defective forklift.
General contractor, Harper & Company Builders, Douglas, Ga., received seven serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $6,875, for failing to protect workers from fall and electrical hazards. Malphus Electrical Contracting, also based in Douglas, received three serious citations, with proposed penalties of $2,450, for exposing workers to electrical shocks from defective tools and equipment.
Fort Valley-based A & A Construction received three serious citations, with proposed penalties of $825, for exposing workers to fall hazards from unsafe scaffolding. Douglas-based Bryants Painting & Wall Covering and Pearson-based Detail Flooring each received one serious citation, with a $300 proposed penalty, for exposing workers to electrical hazards. Baxley-based R-W Structural Contractor received one serious citation, with a $225 proposed penalty, for leaving a forklift unattended while workers were in the personnel basket.
Willful citations are issued when employers have shown 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 employers knew or should have known of the hazard.
The companies have 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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