The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Review Commission recently cited two MA contractors for safety violations after a scaffolding accident injured three workers. When the 2014 accident occurred at a Wenham worksite, Daryl Provencher and A.C. Castle Construction Co. Inc. were conducting business as Provencher Home Improvements. As such, OSHA cited the two companies as a single employer.
At the time of the accident, the three employees were working on a ladder jack scaffold. When the plank on which they were working broke, they fell about 20 feet to the ground. An OSHA investigation revealed that the plank was not approved for use on scaffolds; this fact was even stated on the product’s invoice. The investigation turned up additional violations, including a lack of fall protection for workers and deficiencies with other scaffold components. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you have been injured in a work-related accident.
In 2015, due to the common management and worksites of the two companies, OSHA cited Provencher and A.C. Castle as a single employer. Both companies contested their citations and associated penalties. A.C. Castle contended that it was not responsible for worksite safety, as the general contractor. In February 2017, Administrative Law Judge Sharon D. Calhoun ruled that, at the time of inspection, the companies were operating as a single employer. Although A.C. Castle attempted to review the decision, the request was declined by the commission, and on April 17, 2017, the ruling was made final.
Judge Calhoun’s decision cited multiple factors, including instances in which A.C. Castle acted as more than a general contractor. For example, the presence of A.C. Castle signs and the lack of Provencher signs, and A.C. Castle’s ability to fire and discipline employees. In addition, when A.C. Castle applied for building permits, it represented that it had no subcontractors. As a result of these violations, OSHA has fined A.C. Castle $173,500. As Daryl Provencher passed away in 2016, the claims against him have been removed.
“The judge’s decision, now a final order of the commission, upholds OSHA’s findings that A.C. Castle exercised a degree of control and oversight over Provencher’s operations sufficient to render the two a single employer under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, making them responsible as one entity for their employees’ safety,” said the regional solicitor of labor for New England, Michael Felson. A MA work injury lawyer can help if you’ve been harmed due to another’s negligence.
Most Common OSHA Safety Violations in 2016
“Serious” violations are defined as those “in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.” The most common OSHA safety violations change little from year to year. In 2016, the top ten list included:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Lockout / tagout
- Respiratory protection
- Machine guarding
- Powered industrial trucks
- Electrical – wiring methods
- Fall protection training