The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed $173,500 in fines yesterday against contractors that worked on the Merrimack Premium Outlets shopping mall in New Hampshire.
General contractor Hardin Construction of Atlanta, Georgia, along with nine subcontractors used to complete the construction work, were cited with several safety violations stemming from an investigation that began in January, according to an OSHA press statement. Each of the companies will share a portion of the fines relative to their specific citations.
"Our inspection found workers exposed to a variety of common but avoidable hazards associated with construction work, notably falls and electric shocks," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "Both of these hazards can kill or disable workers in seconds. For the safety of their employees, employers must adhere to required safeguards at all times on this and all job sites."
The statement added that more than 10,000 construction workers were injured and more than 250 were killed as a result of falls from ladders, scaffolds, roofs and other means of elevation while on job sites in 2010. Those numbers could be drastically reduced through the use of online compliance training.
When companies use subcontractors to complete a job – a common practice in the construction industry – it is important that there is mutual trust. OSHA investigations and citations, regardless of which party is responsible, could lead to the site being temporarily – or even permanently – shut down.
For subcontractors that get a reputation for safety violations, it may be difficult to find companies willing to hire them. Online OSHA training not only provides the necessary education for employees, but also shows a dedication to professionalism that can make companies more appealing to general contractors looking for help.
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