U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Allied Painting Inc. exposes employees to lead and fall hazards at Braga Bridge worksite in Fall River, Massachusetts

New Jersey-based painting contractor faces more than $41K in OSHA fines

Employer name: Allied Painting Inc., a painting contractor based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Inspection site: Charles M. Braga Jr. Memorial Bridge, Fall River, Massachusetts 02720

Date inspection initiated: The inspection, which began Oct. 30, 2014, was conducted in response to a referral from the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standard's Lead Program, which found elevated lead blood levels in Allied Painting employees who were performing abrasive blasting and painting on the bridge which spans the Taunton River between Fall River and Somerset. The work was performed on a catenary scaffold located beneath the bridge, and workers used caged ladders to climb down to the scaffold.

Investigation findings: OSHA found excess levels of lead on various surfaces where the employees work, change contaminated clothing and eat. These surfaces include floors, benches, door knobs, lockers and a microwave oven in a decontamination trailer as well as the bench seat of the company van in which employees eat lunch. Employees were also exposed to fall hazards of more than 100 feet because of access ladder obstructions and insufficient heights for temporary railings between access ladders and the permanent bridge railing. As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited Allied Painting Inc. for six serious violations of workplace health and safety standards.

Proposed Penalties: $41,580

Quote: 'The health and safety of these employees were needlessly compromised by both long-term and immediate hazards. Lead* can damage workers' nervous systems, kidneys, blood-forming organs and reproductive systems if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work,' said Robert Carbone, OSHA's acting area director for southeastern Massachusetts. 'It's imperative that Allied Painting Inc. provides and ensures the effective use of all required safeguards for its employees' health and well-being.'

Next: Allied Painting Inc. has contested its citations and penalties to 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 Braintree Area Office at 617-565-6924.

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