Three New York contractors face over $465,000 in US Labor Department
OSHA fines for electrocution and other hazards at Long Island work site
Workers exposed to 13,200 volt unguarded, live power lines
WESTBURY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited three contractors with proposed penalties totaling $465,410 for alleged willful and serious workplace safety violations at a construction work site located at 14 Brooklyn Ave. in Valley Stream.
Electrocution hazards accounted for the largest of the fines after inspectors from OSHA's Long Island Area Office found that workers for the three contractors performed their concrete work and crane operations close to energized 13,200-volt overhead power lines. Vordonia Contracting and Supplies Corp./Alma Realty Corp. of Long Island City was the general contractor on construction of a five-story concrete business and residential building where the violations were found. Masonry Services Inc., doing business as MSI, of Brooklyn, and North Eastern Precast LLC, of Fultonville, were the masonry and concrete subcontractors.
"OSHA standards prohibit working in close proximity to live power lines. These employers allowed workers to be exposed to electrocution hazards despite repeated cease and desist notices from the Long Island Power Authority," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director. "Their workers should never have been placed in harm's way. They were fortunate not to be electrocuted."
All three employers were issued willful citations for allowing employees and crane operations in close proximity to the power lines. They were issued serious citations for not marking the power lines with warning signs. MSI and North Eastern Precast were issued serious citations for not assuming the power lines were energized; checking with the utility operator whether lines had been de-energized; training workers on electrocution hazards; having cranes inspected by a qualified person after assembly; marking the crane's swing radius; having protective helmets; and labeled and protected rigging. All three employers were issued serious citations for not marking overhead power lines with warning signs. MSI was issued a repeat citation for unguarded rebar; they were cited in March 2010 for the same hazard at a Brooklyn work site.
In total, Vordonia was issued two willful and one serious citation, with $145,530 in fines; MSI was issued two willful, one repeat and 10 serious citations, with $181,280 in fines; and North Eastern Precast was issued two willful and 10 serious citations, with $138,600 in fines.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/804265_Masonry_Services_Citations.pdf*, http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/804281_North_Eastern_Citations.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/777302_Vordonia_Citations.pdf*.
"These hazards should not have existed in the first place," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "A proper and effective illness and injury prevention program, in which employers work with their employees to proactively identify, address and eliminate hazards, is a critical investment that pays dividends in safety and health for both workers and employers."
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Long Island office at 516- 334-3344.
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 ensure these conditions exist 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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.