As we have reported elsewhere, NRCA, along with four contractor
co-plaintiffs, filed a motion in February for judicial review of
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) new
fall-protection rules, as well as a motion to stay the new rules'
Before taking that action, we spoke with numerous NRCA members, nearly all of whom agreed
with our need to do so. However, only a few are willing to have
their names associated with the litigation. Why? Because they have
heard too many OSHA enforcement horror stories and are afraid of
retribution. That is a sad—tragic, even—comment on the
state of affairs in Washington, D.C., these days.
One member reported getting fined $4,000 for not having enough
paper cups near the water cooler on a job. The cups also were
deemed to be the wrong type. Another member was cited for having a
tied-off ladder 35, rather than 36, inches above the roof line.
Still another member reported seeing an OSHA enforcement officer on
the ground waiting for a hazard to emerge so he could issue a
citation. His goal was not to warn the worker of an impending
danger, mind you, but to find a reason to fine the employer.
These days, virtually all fall-related citations issued by OSHA
are deemed to be willful. Why? Because, the OSHA logic goes, if
there is someone in charge on the job, he or she is part of the
company's management. And if a part of the company's management
lets a fall-protection violation go unfixed, it can only be because
it's a willful...
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