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Contractor Fined for Repeat Violations

Monday, November 23, 2015

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A Philadelphia-based stucco contractor faces more than $51,000 in fines after allegedly exposing its workers to repeat fall-safety hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued six citations against Alberto El Romero on Nov. 5, according to an agency statement. In addition to two serious violations, the agency issued four repeat scaffolding violations for which the contractor had been cited previously.

“By not providing the proper scaffolding and fall protection, Alberto El Romero is taking unnecessary chances with workers’ lives,” said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA’s Philadelphia Area Office, in the agency’s statement.

OSHA

Alberto El Romero has been cited for repeatedly violating fall-safety guidelines and putting stucco workers at risk, according to OSHA.

“Falls are the leading cause of fatalities on construction sites, so it is vital that employers stay vigilant in protecting workers from those hazards.”

Citation Detail

The recent citations came from a Sept. 11 OSHA inspection at a Philadelphia jobsite. According to inspection detail on the agency’s website, the inspection was initiated after OSHA received a complaint.

In its citations, OSHA alleged Romero:

  • Did not provide scaffolding workers with hard hats and a safety system to protect workers from falling objects, serious, $3,080;
  • Failed to install bracing on scaffolding that was about 40 feet above the ground level, serious, $5,390;
  • Allowed workers to perform tasks on scaffolding that was not planked properly, repeat, $10,780;
  • Used scaffolding cross-braces as a means to allow workers access to work areas above them, repeat, $10,780;
  • Failed to ensure that the scaffolding workers were using was installed under the supervision of a competent person, repeat, $10,780; and
  • Did not install a fall safety system for workers who were performing tasks more than 10 feet off the ground—and in this case, allegedly 15 feet to 20 feet off the ground—and did not have a training program for those working on scaffolding, repeat, $10,780.

Previous Violations

For the repeat violations, OSHA said that the company had been cited for similar hazards at another Philadelphia site more than two years ago. Inspection detail on OSHA’s website indicates Romero was cited in January 2013 for three fall-safety violations that occurred in September 2012.

©iStock.com / elgol

Among other issues, Romero is accused of not providing workers with hard hats and failing to protect workers from falling objects that could cause a hazard.

In that case, the company paid a $6,800 fine for the three violations that carried penalties of less than $3,000 apiece, OSHA said.

Language Barrier

Romero does not appear to have a website. According to an article on philly.com—the website for Philadelphia daily newspapers The Inquirer and Daily News—the contractor said he had a difficult time following the language the agency used in its citations.

Romero reportedly told the papers that he is not a company, but rather a self-employed stucco worker who had asked the general contractor on the job to hire additional stucco workers as needed.

He also told the daily newspapers that he knew the situation was dangerous, but said he had abated the issues for which he was cited by the next day.

   

Tagged categories: Contractors; Health and safety; OSHA; OSHA; Stucco; Violations

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