A Brockton roofing contractor is facing more than $72,000 in fines after OSHA officials passing by a Rhode Island jobsite spotted a dangerous situation and pulled over to investigate.
According to reports published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA inspectors were on their way back to their Providence office on January 22, after completing an unrelated inspection, when they passed the North Smithfield jobsite and saw a dangerous situation in clear view.
Two men working for Brockton contractor Ivan Paredes were spotted without protective gear and the ladder-jack scaffold they were working on did not have the necessary guardrails. They were working 16-feet off the ground and faced a possible life-threatening hazard. According to OSHA reports, the passing inspectors pulled over and ordered the two roofing employees off the scaffold and began inspecting the jobsite.
“This was a clear-and-present danger. These employees could have fallen at any time and been killed or disabled. Ivan Paredes knew of this hazard, but chose to ignore it and his legal responsibility to protect his employees,” Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s area director for Rhode Island, said in a statement to OSHA.
The contractor’s willful negligence and failure to provide fall protection resulted in OSHA citing Paredes the maximum fine for a willful violation: $70,000. Paredes was also cited an additional $2,800 for an additional hazard for not having employees use an access ladder to reach the work platform safely.
Approximately 65% (or 2.3 million) of those who work in the construction industry regularly work on scaffolding in the United States. Protecting workers on construction sites where scaffolding is commonly used may prevent an estimated 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths each year, according to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety Health Administration.
According to OSHA’s standards, employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment for all of his or her employees and providing the adequate training and equipment necessary in preventing hazardous situations.
Though luckily this particular case did not end in disaster, this situation is an example of employer negligence and serves as a reminder to all of those in the construction industry to adhere to safety standards and the law.
If you have been injured in a construction site or scaffolding incident, it is within your best interest to consult with a legal professional that specializes in workplace injuries and workers’ compensation. Aside from the physical injuries a worker may sustain in a construction accident, victims and their families must also cope with a great deal of emotional and financial stress. Costs associated with a work injury can include medical bills, lost wages, and psychological care.
If you have a question about workplace injury or if your loved one was the victim of a workplace fatality, call one of our experienced Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for a free initial consultation to discuss filing a workers’ compensation claim. One of our seasoned lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP will thoroughly investigate your work injury case and examine all avenues of recovery for you. If your injury was caused by faulty equipment, such as a defective safety harness or scaffolding equipment, there may be third parties who can be held liable for your injury or loss. We can file claims or lawsuits against all negligent parties so that you receive the compensation you deserve.