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Lead at Construction Site Violates Workplace Safety Rules

OSHA has fined an upstate New York development company Ellicott Development Co. for exposing employees to lead and fall hazards at a Buffalo worksite. The fine is a total of $44,000 for a variety of workplace safety violations at a demolition site at 2017 Clinton Street. The violations were discovered when OSHA inspected the site in response to a December complaint. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is charged with monitoring workplace safety at most workplaces throughout the United States, including construction sites.

Several OSHA Findings Related to Worker Lead Exposure

OSHA determined that the company's workers were exposed to lead during the demolition of walls that contained lead paint. They further ruled that the company failed to sample and test the paint to learn whether lead was present. Finally, the firm did not train workers, provide protective equipment and clothing, and give them information about lead hazards as required by law.

OAHA's Buffalo area director, Arthur Dube, said that Ellicott failed to take even the basic steps needed to protect workers against the health hazard presented by lead. Such exposure can damage numerous systems within the body, including the nervous, urinary and reproductive systems.

Other Safety Violations

The OSHA inspection also showed that the roof was unguarded, exposing workers to falls of 15 feet. The workers were standing at the edge of the roof throwing materials they had removed from the building into a dumpster. The inspection also found unguarded holes in the roof and scaffolding with unlocked casters, allowing the structure to move unexpectedly.

Ellicott has 15 business days to comply or dispute the findings and penalties.

Source:,"Real Estate Development Company Fined for Lead Exposure, Fall Hazards," Apr. 10, 2013.

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