Region 2 News Release: NY 196
September 25, 2000
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
MONROE TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY, STEEL ERECTOR CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS IN FAIRFIELD STRUCTURAL STEEL COLLAPSE -- TWO IRONWORKERS INJURED, $112,050 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lunar Steel, Inc, of 29 Samantha Drive, Monroe Township, New Jersey, and proposed penalties of $112,050 against the firm for five alleged willful and four alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until October 13 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David Ippolito, the action results from an investigation begun March 22 after OSHA was notified by police of the partial collapse of a steel-framework building under construction on Route 46 West in Fairfield, New Jersey. Two employees sustained punctured lungs and multiple fractures when the steelwork on which they were working collapsed, allowing them to fall more than 30 feet.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA standards by failure to provide fall protection and ensure that employees used it while working or walking on high steel; failure to secure the steel framework before adding joists; failure to secure and bridge long-span joists; failure to properly support the steel structure to prevent collapse, and failure to ensure that employees not climb on the edge of aerial lifts.
The willful violations carry a proposed penalty of $105,000.
"The willful nature of the violations is unmistakable," Ippolito said. "This employer exhibited a significant disregard for the health and safety of its employees. Following the collapse, the employer pledged to both OSHA and the Township of Fairfield that they would use the required fall protection. But despite the serious injuries, warnings from OSHA, and promises to comply, the firm took no substantial action to eliminate numerous fall hazards and other safety hazards at the site."
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
failure to provide fall protection training;
failure to provide fall protection to employees prior to the start of OSHA's inspection;
failure to ensure that employees working in aerial lifts were properly tied off;
failure to use tag lines to control loads being lifted by crane.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $7,050.
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, New Jersey, telephone (973) 263-1003.