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Four New Jersey contractors face big fines after OSHA inspection

Four contractors in New Jersey are facing hefty fines after OSHA inspected their work areas in December of 2011. The inspections were prompted by allegations that unsafe conditions existed, including lack of fall protection in a 20 story building.

After the inspections were complete, citations totaling $463,350 were issued. While workers’ compensation will be awarded to an individual that is hurt on the job, these sort of unsafe conditions have the potential to cause more than serious injury. Death could easily result as falls are still the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

Two of the contractors were cited for five different willful violations and nine other serious violations. One other contractor was cited for five serious violations and the final contractor was cited with three.

When companies are cited with such serious penalties, they each have 15 business days to do one of three things; comply, contest the citations and proposed penalties or request an informal conference with the area director of OSHA.

There are accidents, and there are accidents that can be easily avoided. In this situation, death from construction site falls is preventable. As long as an employer trains his employees properly, provides them with the appropriate equipment and procedures and plans ahead, these accidents do not have to happen.

These fall accidents are serious; in 2010, at least 250 construction workers were killed and 10,000 were injured. These incidences all occurred during work. Due to the high number of accidents like this, a protection campaign will be launched in the fall. This campaign will provide safety tips for workers working with ladders, roofs and scaffolds. This campaign will be launched with hopes that it will help reduce the number of individuals who fall while on a construction job.

Source: EHS Today, “Four New Jersey Contractors Face $463,350 in OSHA Fines,” Laura Walter, June 27, 2012

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