Company Exposes Workers to Scaffolding Hazards in Philadelphia

Words: Dan KamysFor six masonry workers installing brick facades on two new residential properties in Philadelphia, each day on-the-job could have been their last. In November 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of an alleged imminent danger involving workers employed by Havertown-based DMAC Construction LLC. OSHA inspectors found that the employer allowed bricklayers to erect a scaffold too close to power lines and without properly braced scaffolding to prevent a collapse. The work site was at 20th and Federal Streets in south Philadelphia. Less than three weeks later, OSHA was notified of another imminent danger at a second DMAC work site at 15th and Thompson Streets in north Philadelphia. Workers were laying bricks on a building 35 feet above the ground without fall protection. When investigators arrived at both sites, they found that workers were exposed to a number of scaffolding hazards. OSHA cited the company for eight violations, including seven willful. Penalties for both inspections total $470,300. "These hazards are not new to DMAC Construction, yet the company refuses to make needed changes to put worker safety first," said Nicholas DeJesse, director of OSHA's Philadelphia Area Office. "This employer must take immediate action to prevent an unnecessary tragedy." DMAC owner Darren McGee has a long history of exposing workers to safety hazards. His company, formerly McGee Plastering & Stucco Inc., experienced two incidents where employees received an electric shock when they came into contact with energized electrical lines. The incidents occurred in 2011 and 2013. Additionally, companies under his control have been cited for more than 40 scaffolding violations since 2008. Both DMAC Construction and McGee Plastering & Stucco have been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that falls, slips or trips resulted in 21 percent of all workplace fatalities in Philadelphia in 2013, the most recent year with available data. Philadelphia's share of total fatalities due to falls, slips or trips ranked fifth highest of the 10 largest metropolitan areas. View the citations at: To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Columbia Area Office at 803-765-5904. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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