WEST MILFORD, NJ — A local roofing contractor has been fined more than $221,000 by federal officials for allegedly exposing employees to dangerous falls and asbestos while performing residential demolition work in the county.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the fine for the Hewitt-based contractor, John Prevete Framing LLC, on Wednesday. The penalties stem from an Oct. 2, 2017, OSHA inspection, records show.
The inspection, which followed a referral from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Administration, found violations ranging from unsafe ladder use to asbestos exposure, according to OSHA records. OSHA had previously cited the contractor in 2013, 2016, and 2017.
The complete list of OSHA citations issued to the company are:
- Exposing workers to falls from using unsafe ladders;
- Failing to provide required fall protection;
- Exposing employees to asbestos; and
- Failing to provide asbestos safety training.
Falls are the second leading cause of occupational fatalities and disabling injuries in the United States. Each year, over 500 workers die in fall-related accidents and over 300,000 workers suffer a disabling injury.
Most of these fatalities and disabling injuries, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), are the result of falls from elevations of six feet or less.
Where a fall hazard exists, there are two acceptable options; (1) eliminate the hazard or (2) provide protection against it.
Exposure to asbestos can lead to adverse health conditions, such as:
- Increased risk of lung cancer;
- Mesothelioma; and
- Asbestosis, among others.
Asbestos awareness is among the most important components of construction safety training:
- Employees need to identify work areas where asbestos may be present;
- Understand the harmful effects of asbestos:
- Describe methods to avoid asbestos exposure; and
- Become familiar with OSHA and EPA standards designed to protect workers on the job site, among many other important topics.