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USGNN Original StoryAjay Glass & Mirror Fined $89,000 by OSHA for Fall Hazards at Downtown Buffalo, N.Y., Building

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $89,000 in fines against Ajay Glass & Mirror Co. Inc. of Manchester, N.Y., for allegedly exposing employees to falls of up to 50 feet at a Buffalo worksite.

OSHA began its inspection after one of its officials observed Ajay Glass & Mirror employees working without fall protection on the unprotected edge of the fifth floor level of the former Dulski Building in Buffalo, N.Y. The inspection found employees working without the use of a personal fall arrest system or working with their safety lifelines tied off to an anchorage point that was inadequate to restrict falls to 6 feet or less.

At press time, Ajay Glass & Mirror had not responded to USGNN.com's request for a comment.

"These employees were just one misstep or tumble away from a fatal or disabling plunge," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "While they're lucky they didn't fall, worker safety must not and can never be a matter of luck. Basic and effective fall protection safeguards must be in place and in use at all times."

As a result, OSHA has issued the company one willful citation with a proposed fine of $63,000 for the lack of fall protection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Nine serious citations, with $26,000 in fines, have been issued to the company for the inadequate anchorage, lack of fall protection training and failure to have the anchorage points designed, installed or overseen by a competent person; unsecured and unmarked coverings for floor holes on the fourth floor level; slack and unmarked perimeter cables; and not barricading the area beneath a scaffold. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"One means of preventing hazards such as these is to establish an effective safety and health management system through which employers and employees can systematically evaluate, identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Dube.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the failure to abate notices to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

When it comes to jobsite safety, following proper regulations is of critical importance for every construction trade. According to OSHA's Fall Protection in Construction booklet each year, on average, between 150 and 200 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls at construction sites. To try and best ensure jobsite safety, OSHA created a fall protection standard. Some of the steps both employers and employees should follow include:

  • Where protection is required, select fall protection systems appropriate for given situations;
  • Use proper construction and installation of safety systems;
  • Supervise employees properly;
  • Use safe work procedures; and
  • Train workers in the proper selection, use and maintenance of fall protection systems.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of OSHA's Fall Protection in Construction booklet.

OSHA also offers a website about preventing falls on construction sites. CLICK HERE to visit that site.

CLICK HERE to read a related article about construction site falls.

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