Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that the citation and fines were issued by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, not the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries fined a Puyallup, WA-based contractor $203,420 for 13 violations, including fall hazards, on a residential construction job site in Olympia, WA, according to The News Tribune.
Among the penalties, J & I Construction faces three willful violations for a lack of suitable fall protection for employees working on a 20-foot-tall wall. The company was also handed three repeat serious violations for the absence of a fall-hazard plan, with workers vulnerable to wall openings and improper ladder use.
Other violations included a lack of stair railings, the absence of safety springs on nail guns, allowing employees to work without hard hats, and not having a person on site possessing a valid first aid credential.
Meanwhile, announcements from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration have ceased since Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration. Prior to that, the agency published multiple announcements per week concerning the results of its inspections, particularly around hot areas like fall protection and worker safety.
Engineering News Record reported that the halt in direct communications from OSHA, which falls under the Department of Labor, to the media may be part of the broader communications ban on federal agencies.
Nonetheless, OSHA doesn’t appear to have broken stride on enforcement.
Last month, it fined St. Louis-based Fastrack Erectors the maximum $500,000 after its failure to provide proper fall protection resulted in an employee of the subcontractor falling more than 30 feet to his death. That followed two repeat and eight serious safety and health violations, along with a $77,606 fine issued to Park Ridge, IL-based Polo Masonry Builders Inc. for failure to provide sufficient fall protection on a multifamily project in Chicago.
OSHA has intensified its campaign against fall-related hazards as they are the most common violation in the construction industry with nearly 7,000 reported last year.
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