Building firm faces fines for safety hazardsPosted On: Apr. 8, 2016 12:00 AM CST
An Ohio contractor is facing $121,800 in proposed penalties from federal safety and health regulators for exposing workers to fall hazards.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Millersburg, Ohio-based Winesburg Builders Ltd. for two willful violations for failing to use eye and face protection to guard against physical, chemical and radiation hazards and exposing workers to falls 11 feet high without fall protection, according to citations released by the agency on Thursday.
The company was also cited for two repeat and three serious violations, including failing to guard window and stairway openings, according to the agency.
Winesburg Builders has an extensive OSHA history, with inspections in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio and citations for more than 22 violations related to fall hazards from February 2008 to October 2014, according to OSHA.
“Winesburg Builders' reckless approach to worker safety leaves its employees one step away from a potentially deadly fall,” Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston, West Virginia area office, said in a statement. “Approximately four in 10 construction workers die in falls at work. It is vital that construction companies take responsibility for protecting their workers from preventable injuries and serious hazards. No one should have to sacrifice their safety for their livelihood.”
Winesburg Builders' employees regularly receive safety training and always have the safety equipment such as eye protection that they need at the worksites and on the company's trucks, said Brad Grose, president of construction.
“Everyone in my company has the tools and the training to be safe and comply with OSHA rules,” he said. “We have addressed safety in a very aggressive manner.”
“As an employer, you expect your employees to follow company policy,” Mr. Grose added. “They have every opportunity to be safe.”
The company has not had any major injuries or workers comp claims, did not receive the letter identifying the hazards from OSHA's inspection until the date of compliance included in the letter had already passed and will challenge the citations, Mr. Grose said.
“We don't hide from them,” he said. “We talk to them. I didn't feel we had a bad relationship with them. I'm relatively shocked and have never had to face or fight a fine anywhere near this magnitude.”