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Stucco firms cited after scaffold safety questioned


Two Pennsylvania contractors are facing a combined $236,390 in proposed fines from federal health and safety regulations for violations including failing to ensure workers were safely working on scaffolds.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Limerick, Pennsylvania-based Penn Stucco Systems Inc. for one serious and four repeat violations and Upper Darby, Pennsylvania-based BC Stucco & Stone for three willful, two repeat and two serious violations after inspecting a Philadelphia worksite where the contractors were completing stucco work, the agency said Thursday in a statement.

OSHA opened its investigations after it received a complaint alleging employees from both companies were working approximately 20 feet on a scaffold with major safety deficiencies, such as lack of planking, bracing, safe access and stability, according to the statement.

The agency found Penn Stucco repeatedly allowed workers on scaffolds approximately 39 feet high that were not fully planked or decked, had employees doing stucco work on a fabricated frame scaffold not restrained from tipping, used a scaffold without ladders, stair towers or other safe means of access and failed to provide fall prevention or guardrails to address fall hazards, according to the statement. OSHA previously cited the company for similar violations in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Penn Stucco's serious citation was for failing to ensure that each walkway used by employees was protected by a guardrail, according to the statement.

OSHA determined that BC Stucco maintained scaffolds approximately 39 feet high that were not fully planked or decked, exposed employees to falls of 15 to 39 feet from walkways without guardrails, and did not provide fall arrest or guardrail systems to prevent falls, according to the statement. The company also repeatedly allowed employees to work on a fabricated frame scaffold without restraints to avoid tipping and failed to provide ladders, stair towers or other safe means of access to the scaffold. The agency previously cited BC Stucco for similar violations in 2013 and 2014, according to the statement.

The agency also issued serious citations to BC Stucco for not installing protection on the fabricated frame scaffold to avoid falling materials and for not providing or requiring workers to wear hard hats.

Penn Stucco is facing $119,790 in proposed penalties, while BC Stucco was assessed $116,600 in proposed fines.

“OSHA determined the general contractor shortened the schedule in the middle of the project,” Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia area office. “Both employers pushed to rush completion and bypassed safety. Penn Stucco Systems and BC Stucco & Stone jeopardized their workers' safety knowingly by failing to provide basic scaffolding safeguards intended to prevent serious injuries and save lives. Both of these companies have a history of ignoring safety standards and putting their workers at risk.”

A Penn Stucco employee said the company was contesting the citations but had no comment. BC Stucco could not be reached for comment.

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