HILLSIDE, NJ — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to a Hillside company for serious crane and chemical hazards RCS Construction LLC, who manufactures concrete reinforcing bars for construction purposes and is located on Pennsylvania Ave., in Hillside, has been cited by OSHA inspectors for more than two dozen safety violations that put employees at risk of amputations, “struck-by” hazards and other hazards. A struck-by injury is caused by forcible contact or impact between a person and an object or piece of equipment.
The citations, issued on July 29, are for what OSHA called 26 “serious” and three “other-than-serious” health and safety violations and carry a proposed penalty of more than $71,000.
OSHA received a signed formal complaint in February and initiated a health inspection. The agency subsequently opened a second safety inspection in April based on a referral from a compliance officer regarding hazards associated with crane operation and the lack of machine guarding. The safety inspection also fell under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
Serious violations included hazards related to cranes, workers exposed to hazardous chemicals, as well as electrical and struck-by hazards, obstructed exit routes and missing exit signs, improper storage of propane fuel cylinders, failure to implement a hearing conservation program, lack of machine guarding and forklift maintenance and training, and lack of a hazard communication program.
According to OSHA, RCS Construction also failed to inform employees on how to use respirators safely, identify fire extinguisher locations and use relocatable power taps properly, which all resulted in other-than-serious violations.
Patricia Jones, area director for OSHA’s Avenel office, told LocalSource that the compliance officers saw ongoing issues at the company but that the company has the opportunity to lower the penalties. “They have the opportunity to ask for an informal conference with OSHA within 15 days of the issuance of the citations,” said Jones. “At this conference, we talk about the citations and how they can come into compliance. There could be a reduction in penalties, and they have the opportunity to make it a better and safer place.”
Myroslav Maksymov, site manager at RCS, spoke to LocalSource about OSHA’s citations. “We try to follow the rules,” said Maksymov, who said he just became the manager at RCS seven months ago and that he inherited these problems from the former manager. “I just became the manager and have to solve all of these problems. We’re fixing it step by step, but we could not fix it by the time OSHA came. They did a good job showing us what we had to do. We want to get back up to OSHA standards.”
Maksymov said that propane tanks have been moved outside and that the company is purchasing guardrails for it. “We’re working on the serious violations,” he said.
LocalSource requested the name of the owner of RCS Construction from the receptionist at the company but was informed that that information could not be divulged. Records show, however, that the company is owned by IBK Construction Group, a New York City-based construction company. RCS Construction was established in 2009 and has an annual revenue of between $1 million and $2.5 million.
Jones said that regular inspections need to be performed at the company. “Regular inspections of cranes are a critical component of safe operation,” said Jones. “Besides the hazards found related to the crane, OSHA cited many other violations at this worksite,” said Jones. “RCS Construction must correct all of these hazards promptly to protect its workers from needless injuries or worse.”
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Jones said that she wants employees to know that they can file a complaint anonymously and without fear of retaliation.
Employees can call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 or the agency’s Avenel area office at 732-750-3270.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.