CONSTRUCTION

OSHA slaps Pawtucket River Bridge contractor with $60,900 in fines

COURTESY THE R.I. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
OSHA HAS PROPOSED $60,900 in fines against S&R/Pihl, a joint venture LLC, for fall hazards and inadequate safety procedures at the Pawtucket River Bridge construction site.
Posted 6/20/12

PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $60,900 in fines against S&R/Pihl, a joint venture LLC, for fall hazards and inadequate safety procedures at the Pawtucket River Bridge construction site.

An OSHA inspection found that S&R/Pihl did not have procedures or equipment in place for the prompt rescue of employees working at heights up to 90 feet.

According to the OSHA inspection, the contractor’s emergency response plan did not ensure the properly trained personnel or equipment were readily available in an emergency.

As a result, OSHA issued S&R/Pihl a citation with a $56,000 fine for a willful violation. A willful violation is defined as one committed with voluntary disregard to the law or indifference to workers’ safety.

The federal watchdog agency also issued a citation with a $4,900 fine for a serious violation involving lack of fall protection for employees working a top the bridge deck.

Serious violations occur when there is a “substantial probability” that death or serious physical harm could occur, according to an OSHA release.

“If employees fall from a high angle and are suspended by their personal fall arrest systems, or if they need to be evacuated from elevated work areas due to an emergency, then time is of the utmost essence in rescuing them,” Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s area director for Rhode Island, said in prepared remarks.

“Rescue measures, including appropriate equipment, must be available and ready to be put into use immediately,” added Griffin. “Despite being informed of this requirement, S&R/Pihl has thus far refused to take steps to abate this hazard to its employees.”

S&R/Pihl has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before an independent review commission.

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