HONOLULU -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Paramount Builders Inc., of Pago Pago, American Samoa, for six serious, one willful and one repeat violation of workplace safety and health standards. OSHA began its inspection in May after a worker suffered a fatal fall.
'This tragedy could have been prevented if workplace safety standards had been followed,' said Galen Blanton, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office. 'This incident reinforces the critical importance of focusing on fall protection in the workplace. Fall-related incidents are a leading cause of occupational injuries and death. Employers have a responsibility to uphold and model these safety standards.'
OSHA cited the employer for one willful violation, including routinely neglecting to ensure workers were anchored or tied off to body harnesses and, in this case, when operating on elevated structures 18 to 35 feet in height. OSHA's fall protection safety standards require that those working at heights greater than 6 feet be anchored and tied off. 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.
Paramount Builders was cited for failing to maintain material safety data sheets and provide training and information on hazardous chemicals kept on-site. The same violation was cited in 2009. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Additionally, the serious violations include the absence of a certified first-aid responder on-site, lack of fall protection training, use of inadequate ladders and improper use and maintenance of filtering facepiece respirators. 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.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Paramount_Builders_908814_11192013.pdf*.
Since 2011, Paramount Builders has been subject to four planned inspections as part of OSHA's local emphasis programs for silica and construction, resulting in two citations for the same fall protection violations that led to the May fatality. Proposed fines total $107,910. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 800-321-6742 or the agency's Honolulu Area Office at 808-541-2680. For employers in American Samoa, OSHA has arranged for its publications and other materials to be available at the American Samoa Community College. To obtain these, contact Michael A. Le'au, dean of Trades and Technology Division, by telephone at 684-699-9155, ext. 369, or by mail to P.O. Box 2609, Mapusaga, American Samoa 96799.
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.