The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited six contractors building luxury single-family homes at a site in Medford, New Jersey, for fall protection and other violations and proposed penalties of nearly $250,000. The agency conducted multiple inspections, including three as part of its Regional Emphasis Program (REP) on Falls in Construction (Directive no. 2019-1, 10/1/2018).
An OSHA compliance safety and health officer first observed workers exposed to falls and other hazards during an October 20, 2020, inspection. Agency inspectors observed the same hazards during a second inspection 2 days later, prompting a third inspection on October 31.
Following the three inspections, OSHA proposed penalties totaling $244,397 and cited the companies collectively for 4 willful and 35 serious violations, including exposing workers to falls greater than 6 feet and not providing personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry have a legal obligation to comply with the law and ensure their workers end their shifts safely,” Marlton, New Jersey, Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick said in an agency statement. “When employers fail to follow requirements, OSHA will hold them responsible to the fullest extent of the law. A fall can permanently alter or end a worker’s life in a matter of seconds.”
OSHA cited Claudio DeSousa, doing business as Lifetime Contractor Corporation, for two willful, serious violations of:
- The eye and face protection standard (29 CFR §1926.102) for exposing workers to struck-by hazards when using circular saws and pneumatic nailers without eye and face protection; and
- Duty of having fall protection (§1926.501) for exposing workers to fall hazards up to and in excess of 13 feet to the ground from the pitched porch roof of residential structures without guardrail, personal fall arrest, or safety net systems.
The agency also cited Claudio DeSousa for other serious violations of the fall protection, electrical safety, head protection, and ladder safety standards.
The agency cited Lezinho Sousa of Pennsauken, New Jersey—doing business as Lifetime Contractor Corporation—for the same willful, serious violations. OSHA also cited Lezinho Sousa for serious violations of the electrical safety and head protection standards.
OSHA cited the other four New Jersey contractors for the following violations:
- WSJ Construction of Asbury Park for serious violations of the scaffolds and fall protection standards;
- Gustavo Quintomillno of Beverly for serious violations of the contractor safety program, eye and face protection, fall protection, and fall protection training standards;
- LWJ Construction LLC of Long Branch for serious violations of the fall protection and ladders standards; and
- RMM Contractor LLC of Long Branch for violations of the fall protection and ladders standard.
OSHA Region II (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) initiated an REP for falls in construction in fiscal year (FY) 2019 that expires September 30, 2023. There were 36 work-related fatalities in construction in Region II during FY 2018, of which 20 (55%) were from falls.
Falls and struck-by hazards are two of the “focus four” or “fatal four” safety hazards responsible for the majority of fatal occupational injuries in the construction industry. The fall protection and fall protection training standards are 2 of the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards.