A Stamford, Connecticut-based contractor faces $196,000 in fines for two willful and 12 serious violations following an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Cesar Mendoza, dba. KI Management LLC, was cited by OSHA following a November 2013 inspection at a Bridgeport, Connecticut, worksite, which found that workers demolishing and rehabbing a building were exposed to potentially fatal crushing injuries and other hazards due to their employer’s failure to brace the building’s walls and adhere to basic, legally required safeguards.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health says, “While no collapse occurred in Bridgeport, the hazard was real, present and entirely avoidable.”
“The removal of flooring from the second and thirds floors left an empty, unsupported shell that was vulnerable to collapse,” says Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s Bridgeport area director. “Employees at this job site were also exposed to falls of up to 36 feet from unguarded wall openings and to health hazards from inadequate measures to protect them from exposure to lead at the worksite. Worker safety and health were blatantly ignored.”
OSHA cited Mendoza for two willful violations, with maximum allowable fines of $140,000 for the wall collapse and fall hazards. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
A total of 12 serious violations, with $56,000 in fines, were cited for health and safety hazards. These included having workers sweep and shovel lead-containing waste materials and debris, as well as failing to supply workers with proper training, respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment.
In addition, employees were provided inadequate training for demolition, fall and fire protection and general safety.
Other safety hazards, according to OSHA, included unmarked emergency exits, improper storage of oxygen and fuel gas cylinders and electrical hazards.
The citations can be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CesarMMendozadbaKIManagementLLC_936004.pdf and www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CesarMMendozadbaKIManagementLLC_954057.pdf.