Acting on a worker complaint in June 2014, OSHA investigated and found employees of Concrete Systems Inc. (CSI) in danger of falling, being crushed and deafened due to a lack of required safeguards. The inspection at the company's Hudson, N.H. facility resulted in two willful, 18 serious and six other violations. A manufacturer of large concrete formwork, CSI faces $230,400 in proposed fines.
An agency that supplies CSI with temporary workers, Marathon Staffing Services Inc., of Tyngsboro, Mass. was also fined $7,000.
OSHA found instances where employees atop concrete formwork and precast concrete structures lacked fall protection. OSHA also determined that employees who are exposed to excess noise levels while operating casting machinery did not receive baseline audiograms to guard against sustained hearing loss. OSHA cited CSI for two willful violations that carry $126,000 in proposed fines. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
"Concrete Systems chose not to provide required safeguards and exposed workers to potentially fatal or disabling falls and possibly hearing damage," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "The company must act swiftly and effectively to eliminate these hazards and prevent their recurrence to protect the health and safety of its employees."
In addition to these hazards, OSHA found CSI employees risked being crushed or injured by a custom-made lifting device and by the use of damaged slings to move a 24,000-pound load. Inspectors also cited the company for having an uninspected crane and for failing to employ a qualified crane operator. They also found improperly operated and unattended forklifts, unsafe arrangement of loads on forklifts, unguarded saw blades and hazardous electrical equipment. These conditions resulted in citations for 24 violations, carrying $104,400 in fines.
Marathon Staffing Services received one serious violation for not providing audiograms to employees who are exposed to excessive noise levels at CSI. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers, who are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness. The initiative includes outreach, training and enforcement to ensure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces. OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have issued a "Recommended Practices"* publication that focuses on ensuring that temporary workers received the same training and protection that existing workers received.
Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.