Joe Newman Drywall cited by OSHA for repeat, serious violations - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Joe Newman Drywall cited by OSHA for repeat, serious violations

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PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Joe Newman Drywall of Phenix City, Ala., for six repeat and one serious safety violation following an inspection at a job site on Veterans Parkway in Columbus.

The agency initiated the inspection in August as part of its regional emphasis program on falls in construction. Proposed penalties total $66,440.

"This employer has repeatedly demonstrated a disregard for workers' safety by failing to correct previously identified workplace hazards," said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "This employer must eliminate these hazards from the workplace immediately."

The repeat violations, with $64,680 in penalties, include the employer failing to ensure metal-framed scaffolding was properly braced; use of toe boards or other barriers to prevent falling objects; scaffold platforms and walkways were at least 18 inches wide; and that scaffolding was protected with a guardrail, safety net or personal fall arrest system.

Additional violations include failing to ensure the scaffold platform was fully planked and to have a ladder to access the upper level of the working platform.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company received citations for similar violations in 2009.

The serious safety violation, with $1,760 in penalties, involves failing to ensure that workers were provided and utilized head protective equipment while working underneath a scaffold. 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.

OSHA's fall prevention campaign provides employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely on ladders, scaffolds and roofs. It was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More information on fall protection standards is available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

Joe Newman Drywall has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Atlanta-West area director, or contest the citations and penalties 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-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-West Area Office at 678-903-7301.

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.

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