Region 2 News Release: NY 209
November 28, 2001
Contact: David Ippolito
Phone: (973) 263-1003
MANHATTAN CONTRACTOR FACES PENALTY FOLLOWING FATAL MISHAP IN NEWARK, N.J.
NEW YORK -- Following the death of a Brooklyn man in May due to unsafe unloading of steel pipe from a flatbed truck, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited his Manhattan-based employer. Spearin, Preston, and Burrows, Inc. of 446 West 34th St. faces penalties of $70,500 for alleged violations of OSHA standards.
The action results from an investigation following an accident on May 17 in Newark, N.J. in which Mans Jorgensen, 63 of Brooklyn was crushed to death while unloading pipe from a truck at the construction site of a new FBI building at 11 Center Street. The load of 13-inch steel pipes, 80 feet in length and weighing over a ton each, was stacked on the flatbed in a pyramid shape and secured with chocks and straps.
"The company's method of unloading consisted of knocking out the chocks and strapping that held the pipes in place and then watching as they rolled off the truck in an uncontrolled manner. This work practice was used in lieu of the industry-recognized safe method using mechanical equipment, such as cranes or forklifts. The accident was completely preventable," said David Ippolito, OSHA area director in Parsippany,.N.J.
OSHA alleges that by allowing Jorgensen to unload the pipes in an unsafe manner the company willfully violated the general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires employers to furnish a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards. The willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $63,000.
Four alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
- not instructing employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions;
- not preventing access to the swing radius of crane superstructures;
- not providing safe access to crane cabs;
- not providing adequate ladder safety devices.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $7,500.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany area office, located at 299 Cherry Hill Road, suite 304, Parsippany, N.J., telephone (973) 263-1003. Spearin, Preston, and Burrows, Inc. has until December 6 to contest the citations.