A contractor previously cited for workplace safety violations in Maryland and surrounding areas is fighting federal fines and citations it received after an employee died as a result of a work accident. The problem again brings to light the fact that many contractors don’t adhere to the same safety standards as regular employers.
On Aug. 8, 2011, a 19-year-old employee was killed after he fell about 40 feet from scaffolding while working on housing barracks on a military base. At the time of the accident last year, a spokesman at the base said the man died at the site. It was not known how long he had worked for the company.
Following its investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered deficiencies at the site. It wrote four citations, including some for violations labeled as serious, in December. Those deficiencies were: failure to inspect chains on trucks, failure to provide adequate training for employees working on scaffolding, failure to inspect chains on a forklift and failure to properly “tie off” workers who were on the scaffolding.
The construction company claims to be one of the largest masonry contractors in the United States, having worked on buildings for major corporations and the government.
OSHA set the fines at $7,000 for each violation, totaling $28,000. A representative for the construction company said the contractor has contested the fines and citations. An OSHA spokeswoman said the agency can amend a penalty after review.
OSHA records show that between 2002 and 2010, the agency had cited the company for six “serious” violations at locations in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. This incident occurred in Virginia. One of the accidents cited concerned a worker who fell in 2005.