Federal safety inspectors cited a pair of Jacksonville, Fla., construction companies for endangering workers with lax safety measures, including insufficient fall prevention and improper eye protection.
In February and April, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent compliance officers to construction sites as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction, which identified areas with a higher than average number of construction accidents and targeted them for improvement.
The agency said that in the course of these inspections, officials from OSHA’s Jacksonville office observed employees of Transformers Construction Services Inc. and Buildtronix LLC exposed to safety hazards while working on residential sites in St. Johns, Fla., and Ponte Vedra, Fla.
The citations included willful violations for failing to protect workers from falling off of buildings, scaffolds, and other surfaces 14 feet or higher. The agency also hit the companies with serious violations for failing to ensure extension ladders reached at least three feet above the landing surface and allowing employees to stand on the top rung of a ladder while installing roof trusses.
The inspectors also issued one repeat citation for allowing workers to use pneumatic nail guns without the required eye protection.
OSHA said that it has inspected Transformers Construction seven times for safety hazards since 2011 and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program – a program that mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites.
“Following our seventh inspection in three years, Ms. Richardson dissolved Transformers Construction and registered two new companies, Buildtronix LLC and Innobuilders LLC, but continues not to follow OSHA regulations,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “This practice doesn’t change the employer’s obligation to ensure all employees return home at the end of their work day.”
The agency hit Richardson’s companies with more than $150,000 in fines for the unsafe working conditions.