Recently, a company was cited for violating a stop-work order that was placed on scaffolding. Stop-work orders are legal notices requiring employers to immediately suspend all work and business operations in a specific area. Because these notices are placed in areas that need attention and modifications, if stop-work orders are violated and/or disregarded, serious injuries can occur as a result.
DP Investments in Santa Barbara recently violated a stop-work order, endangering employees. After receiving a complaint, Cal/OSHA opened an investigation into the work-site and equipment that DP Investments was working with at the time of the complaint. The investigation found that the scaffolding on one of the buildings put workers in danger of serious injuries. The scaffolding lacked a ladder for safe access, a guardrail to prevent falls, and base plates to provide a firm foundation on the ground. Because of this discovery, the employer, Dario Pini, was informed that the no one would be permitted to use the scaffolding until the hazards were corrected. A stop-work order was placed on the scaffolding, and the notice could only be removed by Cal/OSHA. Dario Pini was also informed that the removal, defiance, or ignorance of the stop-work order is prohibited by law.
During a follow-up investigation, it was discovered that DP Investments was disregarding the stop-work order, and had continued to use the hazardous scaffolding. Because of the disregard for the notice, a DP Investments employee suffered an injury caused by a fall. The injury was not reported, but was discovered during the follow-up investigation of the equipment. The employee suffered multiple fractures after falling 11.5 feet.
“Falls are a leading cause of serious and fatal injuries for employees at construction sites,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “This incident serves as a reminder to employers that fall protection must be taken seriously in all parts of a construction project involving elevated work.”
Because of their disregard for the stop-work order, the injury, and the lack of report, DP Investments in facing citations and charges for willful serious violations. The employer is also being sentenced to 3 years of probation.
Employers and employees should be aware and trained in all aspects of the work they are doing. Proper training, both for employers and employees, can prevent citation, injuries, and even death. Available on our website are the following training supplies, made to keep you, your employees, and others around you safe:
- Training Kits, OSHA safety training programs
- Online (e-learning) training courses
- Onsite training