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Paramount Builders will not contest OSHA fines

fili@samoanews.com

Paramount Builders Inc., owner Lauli’i Alofa does not plan to contest the safety citations and proposed fines of close to $108,000 handed down by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, saying that the company has addressed “most” of the citations.
 
OSHA, a bureau of the U.S. Labor Department, says it has cited Paramount Builders for six serious, one willful and one repeat violation of workplace safety and health standards. The citations followed an OSHA inspection in May after a worker suffered a fatal fall at the construction site of Samoa Tuna Processors, where Paramount was working.
 
When contacted for comment, Alofa said he had spoken yesterday morning to OSHA’s Honolulu Area Office director Galen Blanton about the citation and proposed fines. “Most of the citations by OSHA have been addressed and we are looking forward to a good outcome of these discussions with OSHA,” Alofa said in a phone interview, adding that he does not plan to contest the citation.
 
OSHA proposed total fines at $107,910 and Alofa said, “we’re not going to challenge the fines”, which he expected to be reduced as talks continue with OSHA on issues that have been addressed by the company.
 
He said that the company will continue to comply with all local and federal regulations and “Paramount Builders has learned a lot and will continue to learn as we move forward in the right direction.”
 
“This is a learning experience and we have a responsibility to our workers to be safe on the job,” he said, adding, “They (OSHA) do not have an office here for us to work with or get the current and updated information and training.”
 
It was revealed during last week’s cabinet meeting that USDOL plans to open a local office in January 2014.
 
Paramount Builders management plans to meet next month with OSHA to go over all safety issues as well as reevaluating any issues that have not been touched upon, and to ensure that Paramount remains in full compliance.
 
Because the fatal fall occurred at Samoa Tuna Processors, Samoa News sought comments from owner, Tri Marine International, asking if they had any concerns regarding the violations cited by OSHA. Samoa News also wanted to know if Paramount Builders would continue as construction contractor for their facility.
 
“The fatal accident that occurred was tragic and we are very sorry for their employee and his family. We know too that this was taken very seriously by the management of Paramount Builders and we understand they have conducted a very thorough review of all of their safety policies and procedures to ensure a safe workplace,” said Dan Sullivan, vice president of production at Tri Marine.
 
“A safe workplace is very important to Samoa Tuna Processors for our own employees, as well as any contractors or visitors to our facility. Paramount Builders, however, is ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of their workers,” he said via e-mail.
 
Sullivan also said that reconstruction of the cannery in Atu’u continues and Paramount Builders is continuing to work on specific portions of that project.
 
“It is not clear at this time when the work to be done by Paramount will be concluded but the overall project is expected to be complete at the end of 2014,” he said. “Paramount Builders or any other contractor on our site is required by law and by our contracts with them to comply with all of the requirements of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”



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