ANDOVER, Mass. – A Framingham contractor with a history of safety violations has again exposed its employees to potentially fatal fall hazards at one of its worksites, this time in Woburn.
Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found employees of A S General Construction Inc. risked falls of more than 26 feet from an unguarded roof and an improperly constructed and erected ladder-jack scaffold at the 51 Pleasant St. job site.
“The danger to these employees was real and present and known to this employer. Not only did A S General Construction not provide required fall protection, it did not train the employees to work safely on scaffolds and had the workers climbing damaged and improperly set up ladders. The result was that these workers were steps or seconds away from deadly or disabling falls,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties.
Additional hazards found at the Woburn site included lack of safe access to the roof and scaffold, not inspecting the scaffold and its components for defects, failing to remove nails and debris from the work area, and lack of head protection and safety glasses.
A S General Construction has a history of OSHA violations. Several of the violations at the Woburn worksite are similar to those cited by OSHA between 2011 and 2015 at worksites in Dedham and Windham, New Hampshire.
As a result, OSHA cited A S General Construction on Jan. 22, 2016, for two willful, seven repeat and seven serious violations of workplace safety standards at the Woburn site. Proposed penalties for these violations total $188,760. The citations can be viewed here.
“Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work, yet these deaths can be prevented if employers plan ahead to do the job safely and provide their employees with proper training and safety equipment. Employers who needlessly and repeatedly fail to do so are gambling with their workers’ lives and well-being,” said Kim Stille, OSHA’s New England regional administrator.
The company’s latest violations led OSHA to place A S General Construction in the agency’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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 amputations, eye loss, 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 Andover Area Office at 978-837-4460.