Georgia Workers Found on Unsafe Scaffolding at Fast Food Restaurant
Any employer who ignores safety standards in an effort to maximize profits places their employees at risk. To health and safety inspectors driving by a Bojangles' restaurant in Liburn, Georgia in October of 2014, it was clear that employers were cutting corners at the expense of their employee's safety.
Workers at the Liburn store were performing stucco and brick work on the exterior of the building using what was quite apparently, an unsafe scaffolding system. The workers were at great risk of falls, which is the leading cause of death for construction workers across the country. Each year, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), hundreds of workers die in fall related accidents and thousands more are injured. Some of these fall related injuries are severe and permanent, altering the course of workers' lives.
OSHA, a federal agency within the United States Department of Labor, began an inspection as part of a regional emphasis program on construction worksites. After the inspection, OSHA found the employer, a construction company, had repeated and serious safety violations. Several contractors were essentially ignoring basic fall protection rules, thus creating an unsafe work environment. In this particular case, the project was behind schedule so the employers were placing profits ahead of their employee's safety.
Some of the violations included: exposing workers to fall hazards by having them work on a scaffolding system that was not fully planked; allowing employees to climb the frame of the scaffold instead of a ladder; exposing workers below to the risk of falling materials and tools; exposing workers to an unprotected belt and pulley and failure to use connecting pins on the scaffolding as well as safely erect scaffolding; and not installing guardrails on scaffolding, thus exposing workers to thirteen foot falls without fall protection. The list of violations continued and amounted to fines in excess of $100,000.
Fortunately, no employees were injured due to OSHA's quick action in uncovering the safety issues and halting the employer's dangerous actions. If you are an employer looking to increase the safety of your workplace, which holds the potential for falls, or you are an employee in the construction industry who has concerns about safety in your workplace, OSHA offers detailed information on its website under its Fall Prevention Campaign.
OSHA highlights three simple steps to preventing falls:
- Plan: Plan in advance to get the job done safely.
- Provide: Provide employees with the right equipment.
- Train: Train employees on the proper use of equipment.
A full overview of these important three steps and a link to more resources is available as well on the Fall Prevention website. Any worker who has been injured on the jobsite and believes an unsafe work environment played a role in the injury should contact an attorney as soon as possible to examine the facts and circumstances of your case as well as advise you on what steps are necessary to preserve your rights.
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