OSHA Judge Flattens Masonry Contractor’s Safety Training Citation

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By Lars-Eric Hedberg

A forklift operator injured by a falling crate of marble slabs was made aware of hazards and the steps needed to avoid them, a workplace safety judge ruled.

And a foreman from Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. told the operator to put a sling around a damaged crate, and explained how to remove it from a flatbed, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Administrative Law Judge Sharon D. Calhoun wrote in a decision and order.

Calhoun vacated the citation for a serious violation of 29 C.F.R. 1926.21(b)(2), which alleged Camarata had failed to instruct employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions ( Sec’y of Labor v. Camarata Masonry Sys., Ltd. , OSHRCJ, No. 16-0097, 7/3/17 ).

Camarata was remodeling the facade of a building in downtown Houston, work that included unloading 3,000-pound crates containing marble slabs.

On July 27, 2015, the operator was taking measurements to build an A-frame to stabilize a crate when the bottom of the crate broke loose and fell over, according to the decision. Although the crate remained on the forklift, it fell on the operator and broke his right tibia and dislocated his left knee.

Calhoun ruled that the Department of Labor failed to establish that Camarata didn’t provide the operator with instructions regarding rigging broken crates and the associated hazards. The operator had 14 years of training and experience, and the foreman had given him specific instructions about removing the damaged crate, Calhoun wrote.

The department had sought a $1,600 penalty.

Keith Coulter, Houston, represented Camarata.

The Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Dallas, represented the secretary.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lars-Eric Hedberg in Washington at lhedberg@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

For More Information

The decision and order are available at http://src.bna.com/qHn.

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