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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [03/28/2012]
Contact Name: Diana Petterson or Jesse Lawder
Phone Number: (617) 565-2075
Release Number: 12-0563-BOS

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Stamford Plaza Hotel demolition contractor for scaffolding and fall hazards

Konko LLC faces nearly $99,000 in fines

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Stamford-based demolition contractor Konko LLC for 14 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. Konko faces a total of $98,800 in proposed fines, chiefly for exposing its employees to scaffolding and fall hazards during renovation work at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.

"Scaffold safety encompasses the erection and dismantling processes as well as fall protection for employees working on completed scaffolding," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "It's imperative that these activities be conducted under the supervision of a competent person who can also train employees to recognize hazards associated with their work. Such was not the case here. For the safety of its workers, this employer must take steps to correct deficiencies and prevent their recurrence in the future."

OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office opened an inspection on Sept. 27, 2011, after receiving a complaint about unsafe conditions. The inspection found that the scaffold on which employees were working was not restrained from tipping, was not fully planked on all work levels, and had not been erected and altered under the supervision of a competent person with the knowledge and authority to identify and correct hazards. The employees on the scaffold were exposed to falls of up to 57 feet due to a lack of protection and because they accessed the scaffold's upper levels by climbing its cross bracing. These conditions resulted in citations for five willful violations with $70,000 in 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.

Nine serious violations with $28,800 in fines include a lack of fall protection for employees working on a flat roof and at the open sides and ends of landings; not plumbing and bracing the scaffolding to prevent swaying and displacement; not inspecting the scaffolding for defects and immediately removing defective components; having a damaged and uninspected ladder; and not having a competent person train employees in how to erect, disassemble, maintain and inspect scaffolding, as well as in how to recognize scaffold-related hazards. 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. Detailed information on scaffolding hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/.

The 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. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Bridgeport office at 203-579-5581.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.