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Feds: Local contractors putting employees at risk

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says two Jacksonville construction companies owned by the same woman are putting employees at risk of dangerous falls and eye injures despite citations issued last month.

Transformers Construction and Buildtronix are both owned by Leanna Richardson.

According to OSHA, citations were issued on June 26 after inspections of projects on Molasses Court, in St. Johns, and on Morning Star Way, in Ponte Vedra Beach.

OSHA said citations to the same contractors were issued for two willful, one repeat and two serious violations to the employer after inspections in February and April 2015.

"Following our seventh inspection in three years, Ms. Richardson dissolved Transformers Construction and registered two new companies, Buildtronix LLC and Innobuilders LLC, but continues not to follow OSHA regulations," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "This practice doesn't change the employer's obligation to ensure all employees return home at the end of their work day."

According to the Department of Labor, compliance officers observed workers exposed to fall hazards while performing residential construction. The willful violations involved failing to protect workers from falls from heights up to 14 feet while performing residential construction. The repeat citation was issued for allowing workers to use pneumatic nail guns without eye protection. The serious violations were cited for failing to ensure an extension ladder extended 3 feet above the landing surface and allowing employees to stand on the top step of a stepladder while installing roof trusses.

OSHA ordered the companies to pay penalties of $153,090.

OSHA said Transformers has been inspected six times for safety hazards since 2011. OSHA has proposed the employer be placed in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.

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.

The full citations can be viewed at:  Transformers Construction Services | Buildtronix LLC