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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [05/08/2014]
Contact Name: Lindsay Williams or Michael D'Aquino
Phone Number: (404) 562-2078 or x2076
Email:
williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov or d'aquino.michael@dol.gov
Release Number: 14-0668-ATL

Bennett Building Systems cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for not protecting workers from dangerous falls

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Bennett Building Systems LLC, which builds metal and wooden structures, such as barns, carports and garages, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight violations, including one willful violation, six serious violations and one other-than-serious violation. The agency initiated the November 2103 inspection at the company's facility on Dixon Airline Road in Augusta because of a complaint. The proposed citations total $89,000.

"Management asserted that they 'had not gotten around to providing fall protection' at this facility," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "I find the employer's decision to disregard established safety procedures and knowingly put workers at risk of serious injury or death very troubling. OSHA standards are there to protect workers from predictable and preventable injuries and deaths."

The willful citation is for the employer failing to provide fall protection for employees working on roofs of metal and wooden structures. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. OSHA discovered that employees were working at heights higher than 9 feet without fall protection, and proposed $55,000 in penalties for the willful violation. 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.

Six serious safety and health violations were cited against the employer for exposing workers to unguarded grinders and saw blades; noise levels in excess of safe levels; and failing to protect workers from welding rays by using flameproof screens or shields. OSHA proposed $34,000 in penalties for the serious violations. 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. Additionally, the company was cited for one other-than-serious violation for failing to implement a written hazard communication plan.

OSHA has created a fall prevention Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. In addition, OSHA is collaborating with the construction industry to host a National Safety Stand-Down on fall prevention from June 2-6 to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/index.html.

Bennett Building Systems is a Texas-based manufacturing company that employs approximately 700 workers nationwide. The Augusta facility employs approximately 65 workers.

Bennett Building Systems has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & 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 Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.

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.