In February, two painters working for Abhe & Svoboda were injured in a fall while working on a project on the Ross Island Bridge in Portland, Oregon. It was determined the fall was due to the workers not wearing required safety harnesses.
Since then, the company’s safety record has been under scrutiny by the media, as well as industry experts like the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
Now, the Oregonian reports that any past safety violations or citations that would have mattered in the decision making process by the Oregon Department of Transportation to hire the company were unknown to the department.
The answer as to why they knew nothing of Abhe & Svoboda’s safety record is alarming to say the least.
According to the Oregonian:
…Oregon transportation officials who oversee contracting said they never knew of previous fall-prevention lapses by Abhe & Svoboda for one simple reason: They never asked.
The department does not check publicly available OSHA records of safety violations before they hire a company for a state project.
The article goes on to list the safety warning signs that officials might have wanted to know about before hiring Abhe & Svoboda. Had they done the research the newspaper did, they would have seen that the company has a history of repeated failures of outfitting bridge painters with adequate safety harnessses.