A Brockton, Massachusetts roofing contractor is reportedly facing $72,800 in proposed fines in connection with fall hazards at a North Smithfield, Rhode Island job site. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), safety inspectors uncovered the danger in January while heading back to their Providence office following another job site inspection in the same area. From that location, the inspectors purportedly witnessed two roofers working from an elevated scaffold without protective equipment. As a result, the two OSHA inspectors apparently initiated an immediate and unplanned inspection of the work site.
After ordering the roofers off a ladder-jack scaffold, the OSHA inspectors determined that the scaffold was not equipped with guard rails. In addition, the employees were reportedly working at an elevation of about 16 feet without any equipment designed to keep them from falling, and their employer apparently failed to require the roofers to use an access ladder in order to reach the scaffolding platform. OSHA’s Area Director Patrick Griffin stated the situation constituted a “clear-and-present danger” to the workers, who could have been seriously hurt, disabled, or killed as a result of the alleged violations. According to Griffin, the roofing contractor should not have ignored his legal duty to protect the workers from injury.
As a result of the purported fall hazards, OSHA issued a proposed fine of $70,000 for one willful violation and $2,800 for one serious violation. A willful violation occurs when an employer acts with purposeful disregard for worker safety. A serious violation is one that places an employee at risk of death or severe physical harm. Since October 2010, the same contractor has received fines for exposing workers to fall hazards seven times in numerous states, including Massachusetts. The fine that was issued to the roofing contractor over the willful violation was the maximum amount that is currently allowed by federal law.
The proposed fines were issued at the same time many other employers are participating in a National Safety Stand-Down. Between May 4 and May 15, businesses in Massachusetts and across the nation are encouraged to discuss work hazards with employees, conduct toolbox talks, perform safety inspections, and develop rescue plans in an effort to create a safer working environment.
If you suffered a workplace accident in Boston, you should contact the dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. Our caring attorneys are available to help you recover the benefits you may be entitled to following an accident at work. To discuss your rights under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation law in more detail, do not hesitate to call Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. at 800-367-0871 or contact us online today.
Roofing workers spotted in ‘clear-and-present danger’ by OSHA inspectors as they drive by North Smithfield, Rhode Island, job site, United States Department of Labor Press Release dated May 12, 2015