Yesterday, I wasn’t so sure about OSHA’s decision to fine the Buffalo News for the deficiencies of a local high school’s stadium. Today, I’m positive OSHA did the right thing in proposing fines of $180,950 on bridge contractor Brunalli Construction Co. for 3 willful and 10 serious alleged violations at a Connecticut work site.
The worst alleged violations concerned the complete lack of fall and drowning protection (the bridge in question crosses the Housatonic River) and an access ladder that is too short. These three violations accounted for $147,000 of the fines. Other violations accounted for the remainder of the fines, including a damaged guardrail, amputation and laceration hazards and a situation in which certain workers were not issued the hardhats they need for proper protection.
OSHA proposed the fines following a December, 2008 investigation of the work site. No accidents have occurred at the site before or after the inspection.
Working with New York construction accident lawyers, it is great to see OSHA aggressively pursuing contractors that do not make the safety of their workers a top priority. OSHA is penalizing conditions here that are exactly the sort that lead to injuries or deaths.
The precautions OSHA requires are not a luxury nor are they frivolous. They are a necessity. They save lives. OSHA is right to punish employers who would flaunt its rules.
With some luck, OSHA’s fines will motivate Brunalli Construction to bring its work site up to code. Unfortunately, it seems concern for its workers’ safety was not enough.