The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued $100,560 in fines to Vyacheslav Leshko, doing business as T and S Masonry LLC in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. During inspections at two Philadelphia construction sites, auditors observed bricklayers working unprotected at heights up to 30 feet. The contractor is a repeat offender, having already been penalized twice in 2012 and again earlier this year.
The City of Philadelphia alerted OSHA to the suspected improprieties. Employees were working on the exterior finish of single-family homes atop scaffolds and without proper protective measures in place. Inspectors also found that the scaffolds themselves were not up to code and that the workers had not received proper training. They cited the company for eight repeat violations due to the earlier penalties, and an additional five serious penalties for using corrosive cement without protection.
"T and S Masonry is taking unnecessary chances with worker safety by not providing fall protection for bricklayers working at heights ranging from 25 to 30 feet," said OSHA's area director for Philadelphia, Nicholas DeJesse. "A fall at these heights would result in permanent disability or death."
Improper scaffolding is the direct cause of over 2,000 injuries every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and fall hazards are by far the most reported violation at construction sites.
Safety training is the most effective measure to avoid dangerous situations that can lead to personal injuries and incur OSHA fines. With behavior based safety programs, construction workers and their supervisors learn to take appropriate measures to prevent fall hazards and identify faulty scaffolding.