- Associated Press - Thursday, May 8, 2014

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined a south-central Idaho home-construction company after a worker suffered serious injuries at a job site.

The federal agency announced Wednesday a $27,600 fine assessed to TKO Custom Homes of Twin Falls for what it calls willfully exposing workers to fall hazards and other problems.

Company spokesman Chad DeBie said TKO will meet with the agency to review changes the company has made.

“It’s not a situation where they feel we didn’t take positive action to correct the situation,” he told The Times-News (http://bit.ly/SDIt1y). “They will want to review with us the steps we’ve taken to prevent a similar situation.”

The agency on April 30 inspected the Evergreen Apartments job site and cited the company with one willful violation of fall hazards and three other serious violations.

The agency said it found workers being exposed to falls of nearly 10 feet because the company failed to provide rails on stairs, guardrails and other fall protection.

The agency cited the company with a $22,000 fine.

Dave Kearns, director of OSHA’s Boise area office, said a willful violation is when an employer knows there’s a problem but fails to comply even after an accident.

The injury to the worker occurred last year. DeBie and Kearns said they didn’t have information on the worker’s injuries.

Besides the willful violation, OSHA also cited the company for three serious violations with fines of $5,600. Those violations included failing to keep work areas clear of construction debris. Serious violations occur when there is a significant probability of serious injury or death that could result because of a hazard the employer knew about or should have known about.

The fines could be reduced, Kearns said. “They definitely have an appeals process here,” he said.

The company has 15 days to appeal.


Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com



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