Region 2 News Release: 10-717-NEW/BOS 2010-224
Tues., June 1, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $125,000 in fines
against Brooklyn, NY, contractor after partial building collapse
NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited New York Plank Services LLC, a precast concrete installation contractor, for alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of safety standards following a partial building collapse in Brooklyn. The contractor, also in Brooklyn, faces a total of $125,800 in proposed fines.
On Nov. 23, 2009, during the installation of pre-cast concrete stairs on the third floor of a six-story residential building under construction at 433 3rd Ave., a collapse of several planks and stairs occurred. OSHA's inspection found that the structural steel I-beam that supported the planks and stairs had not been bolted and welded as required to provide stability, and the employees who removed the damaged concrete planks from the stairwell were exposed to falls of 40 feet to the ground due to a lack of fall protection. As a result, OSHA has issued two willful citations, with $112,000 in proposed fines, against New York Plank Services. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
"While it is fortunate that no workers were injured in this incident, they were still exposed to crushing hazards during the event and to fall hazards afterward," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "These sizable fines reflect the gravity of the hazards and the employer's knowledge that these vital and required safeguards were ignored."
In addition, workers had not been trained to recognize fall hazards and in the correct use of fall protection equipment; defective rigging equipment had not been removed from service; and the jobsite lacked a program for frequent and regular inspections to identify hazards. These conditions resulted in three serious citations with $9,000 in fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Finally, the company has been issued eight other-than-serious citations, with $4,800 in fines for incomplete or inadequate recording of occupational illness and injuries.
"One means of preventing hazards and enhancing workplace safety is for employers to establish effective, comprehensive workplace safety and health programs that involve their employees in proactively evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards before they occur," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
New York Plank Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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