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7th OSHA Case for Stucco Contractor

Monday, September 22, 2014

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A Pennsylvania masonry contractor already deep in overdue debt to federal authorities for chronic, serious safety violations can now add $235,700 to his tab.

Classified three years and six cases ago as a "Severe Violator," JC Stucco and Stone Inc., of Lansdowne, PA, has now been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for three willful and three repeat safety violations at a residential construction site.

JC Stucco Fall Hazard OSHA
Photos: OSHA

“Each OSHA inspector has his own view of what constitutes safe scaffolding," said the contractor, who has faced repeated violations. "What passes muster for one inspector is a violation for another.”

OSHA records show six outstanding cases against the company since 2011, most involving similar violations, with about $150,000 in unpaid fines. Most of the fines were reduced during settlement, and nearly all have been referred to debt collection, the records show.

In the new case, which stems from a March inspection, inspectors saw employees working up to 32 feet high on scaffolds that were not properly braced and had gapping planks.

"This employer was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2011 after multiple instances of repeated, high-gravity violations," Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia Area Office, said in a statement.

"By refusing to provide the proper fall protection, this company is putting workers' lives at risk. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. Protecting workers from fall hazards must be a priority."

Contractor: Subjective Call

A call Friday (Sept. 22) to JC Stucco and Stone for comment was not returned.

However, owner Jose Calle told Philly.com that he planned to dispute the citations.

JC Stucco Fall Hazards OSHA

Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction.

Calle told the newspaper that “each OSHA inspector has his own view of what constitutes safe scaffolding —what passes muster for one inspector is a violation for another.”

Willful, Repeat Violations

The company’s willful violations—OSHA's highest level of infraction, carrying a $200,500 penalty—allege that the company failed to use scaffolding with “adequate bracing to prevent tipping or collapse and to provide fall protection for employees working up to a height of 32 feet.”

Falls to lower levels accounted for 11 percent of all Philadelphia worker fatalities in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A willful violation means an act was committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health, according to OSHA.

The contractor also faces a potential $35,200 fine for lack of fall-hazards training, other scaffolding hazards, and failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program. Those are repeat violations, which exist when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation within five years.

   

Tagged categories: Fall protection; Masonry; OSHA; Residential contractors; Violations

Comment from peter gibson, (9/22/2014, 5:45 PM)

Mr Calle certainly knows how to spin the problem.lets see if the spin meister can wiggle out of this big fat fine.


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