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U.S. Department of Labor | July 28, 2016

Two Queens contractors expose employees to fall, fire and electrical
hazards at Chinatown construction site, OSHA finds
W&L Group Construction Inc., Top Master Industries Inc. fined combined $117K

NEW YORK - Federal workplace safety and health inspectors have cited two Queens construction companies a total of $117,170 for exposing workers to fall, fire and electrical hazards while rehabilitating three adjoining buildings at 223 Grand St. in Manhattan's Chinatown.

The Manhattan Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections as part of its local emphasis program targeting construction sites. The agency inspected building contractor W&L Group Construction Inc. and steel erection contractor Top Master Industries Inc./H&J Iron Works Inc. OSHA found that both contractors failed to:

  • Provide fall protection for employees working on a scaffold.
  • Ensure fall protection training for employees.
  • Prevent employees from climbing cross-braces to access the scaffold's work platform.
  • Cover a floor hole that exposed employees to falls of up to 17 feet.
  • Ensure planks on a scaffold platform were secured, which exposed employees to a fall hazard of more than 7 feet.
  • Separate stored oxygen cylinders from fuel-gas cylinders or combustible materials.
  • Secure compressed gas cylinders in an upright position.
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher was near compressed gas cylinders and combustible materials.
  • Use cabinets or other forms of enclosures to guard employees from accidental contact with live parts of electric equipment.

These conditions led OSHA to cite W&L Group Construction Inc. for eight repeated and six serious violations of workplace safety standards with $93,170 in proposed fines. The agency also cited Top Master for 10 serious violations with $24,000 in proposed fines. OSHA found repeated violations by W&L Group that the agency cited for similar fall-related, electrical and compressed gas cylinder hazards in inspections in 2012 and 2014.

"The hazards we found at the Grand Street site are of concern since they involve two of the four leading causes of death in construction work - falls and electric shock. These employers are not meeting their responsibility to provide their employees with safe working conditions. Especially disturbing is the fact that W&L Group Construction has been cited for similar hazards over the last four years," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

The citations can be viewed here, and here.

W&L Group Construction Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.

Top Masters Industries Inc./H&J Iron Works has met with OSHA and has reached a settlement and confirmed the hazards are corrected.

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 Manhattan Area Office at 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 ensure 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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Media Contact:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-1587-NEW


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