- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited a New Jersey contractor doing work in Philadelphia this month with multiple scaffolding safety violations from March, fining the company $191,215, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The agency said DH Construction LLC allowed workers to use scaffolding that wasn't secured or cross-braced, didn't provide for adequate planks on the floor and didn't protect workers from falling objects. OSHA said that some of the scaffolding was also built too close to power lines.
- OSHA issued DH Construction eight repeat and two serious violation citations. The owner of DH Construction has another construction company, which was cited for similar violations in 2014.
Scaffolding-related violations typically make an appearance in OSHA's annual top 10 list of most frequently violated safety standards. Incorrectly assembled or misused scaffolding equipment can create fall hazards as dangerous as those faced by roofers or ironworkers.
And a fall from any height carries with it a significant risk of injury, as well as the added expense of paying for those injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workers' compensation and medical costs associated with workplace falls cost about $70 billion annually.
Yet there are still companies that choose to defy OSHA's rules, as well as common sense, when it comes to scaffolding.
In October 2014, residential roofers fell about 20 feet when the wooden plank on a ladder jack scaffold broke. The agency found that Massachusetts contractors A.C. Castle Construction and Daryl Provencher of Provencher Home Improvements allowed workers to use a plank that wasn't rated for scaffolding, as well as a system that was generally deficient. OSHA also determined that the contractors did not make sure that all scaffold personnel had adequate fall protection equipment.
OSHA also fined Real Contractors LLC of Plymouth Meeting, PA, late last year for scaffolding violations the company allegedly committed in June of 2016. The fine was nearly $88,000 for failure to provide safe access to scaffold platforms and fall protection for heights up to 13 feet. The agency determined that Real did not provide adequate training either.