Region 2 News Release: NY 185
September 5, 2000
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
For Release: Immediately
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR BASED IN BURLINGTON, NEW JERSEY, CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS AFTER A WORKER WAS INJURED IN FALL AT JERSEY CITY TOWNHOUSE SITE; $157,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Santos Home Corporation, of 60 Cathy Lane, Burlington, New Jersey, and proposed penalties of $157,000 against the firm for six alleged willful and three alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until September 22 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David Ippolito, the action results from an investigation begun March 6 after OSHA was notified by police of an accident at a townhouse construction site at 175 Warren Street in Jersey City, New Jersey. An employee was seriously injured when he fell 30 feet from a third-floor window opening.
"After our inspection began, the employer was given repeated warnings by OSHA to implement fall protection," Ippolito said. "The company promised to institute fall protection procedures and to train employees. But despite a serious employee injury, warnings from OSHA, and promises to comply, this employer took no substantial action to eliminate numerous fall hazards and other safety hazards at the site.
"The willful nature of the violations is unmistakable," Ippolito noted. 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.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA standards by failure to provide fall protection for floor edges, floor holes and wall openings, failure to train employees on fall hazards, failure to provide hard hats, and failure to ensure that employees working from an aerial lift protect themselves by tying off as required. The willful violations carry a total proposed penalty of $150,000.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included using electrical extension cords as a means of hoisting materials, not providing ladders where necessary, and failing to ensure that employees working in aerial baskets stand firmly on the basket floor.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $7,000.
A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
Commenting on the enforcement action, OSHA regional administrator Patricia Clark said, "Falls remain a leading cause of fatalities on construction sites and especially in residential construction. This employer's lack of action was unconscionable; and these citations should put other employers on notice that intentional disregard for employee safety will not be tolerated."
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.