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Painters working on the Braga Bridge in Fall River were exposed to unacceptable levels of lead and worked on unsafe scaffolding, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on April 16, 2015. The employees were performing abrasive blasting and painting on the bridge, working on scaffolding and ladders.
OSHA proposed to fine their employer. Allied Painting, $41,580 for six serious violations of workplace health and safety standards..
OSHA investigators found excess levels of lead on floors, benches, doorknobs, lockers, the seat of the company van, and a microwave oven in a decontamination trailer. The investigators also stated that the ladder and scaffolding system exposed employees to fall hazards of more than 100 feet As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited Allied Painting Inc. for six serious violations of workplace health and safety standards.
"The health and safety of these employees were needlessly compromised by both long-term and immediate hazards," said Robert Carbone, OSHA's acting area director for southeastern Massachusetts. “Lead can damage workers' nervous systems, kidneys, blood-forming organs and reproductive systems if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities.
“Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work," Carbone added. “It's imperative that Allied Painting Inc. provides and ensures the effective use of all required safeguards for its employees' health and well-being.”
The company has contested its citations and penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.
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