OSHA initiated an investigation on Jan. 19 as part of a local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in the construction industry after investigators observed workers being exposed to fall hazards as high as 24 feet while performing masonry work on the exterior of a building.

“Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry,” said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA’s Avenel Area Office. “It is vital that employers protect their workers from these deadly hazards, and provide an overall safe and healthful workplace.”

The repeat violations include the company’s failure to adequately plank scaffolding, provide workers with a ladder to ensure safe access to scaffolding and provide a fall protection system for employees working from a scaffold. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facilities in federal enforcement states within the last three years.

The serious violation was for failure to provide workers with a fall arrest harness with a lanyard. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

“One way of preventing hazards is for employers to establish an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program that involves their employees in proactively evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards,” said Bob Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “OSHA’s goal is to ensure that workers go home healthy and whole at the end of each workday.”

Detailed information on scaffold hazards and safe work practices, including an interactive e-tool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.