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OSHA cites construction contractor as severe workplace safety violator

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A Connecticut contractor has become the latest member of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's program for severe violators of federal workplace safety law.

OSHA cited Stratford, Connecticut-based Whole Life Construction L.L.C. for five repeat and two serious violations of workplace safety standards at a residential roofing job in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and proposed $48,400 in fines, according to an agency news release issued on Tuesday.

OSHA inspectors found four employees working without fall protection, three on a roof and one on a scaffold, leaving them vulnerable to falls of more than 20 feet, according to the release. Employees also faced electrocution hazards while working too close to energized power lines. The agency had previously cited the contractor for similar hazards at worksites in New Haven and Danbury, Connecticut.

The latest violations led OSHA to place the contractor in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers who, according to the agency, have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations through willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

“This employer has again deprived its employees of required, life-saving protections,” Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport, Connecticut, said in a statement. “That is unacceptable. Whole Life Construction's workers risked deadly and disabling injuries from potential falls, scaffold collapse and electrocution. It is the employer's responsibility to take and maintain effective corrective action and provide its employees with safe working conditions at all its job sites.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.