Region 2 News Release: 11-1142-NEW/BOS 2011-283
Aug. 8, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Maspeth, NY, sign company for safety
violations after workers exposed to fall hazards in Manhattan
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited North Shore Neon Sign Co. Inc. for six alleged violations of workplace safety standards after an OSHA inspector observed workers exposed to fall hazards while repairing a sign at 4 S. Union Square in Manhattan. The Maspeth employer faces a total of $42,350 in proposed fines.
On May 2, an OSHA inspector observed that one employee was working on a scaffold that lacked a guardrail system while another employee was accessing the scaffold by climbing out of the elevated basket of an aerial lift. Neither employee was tied off to prevent a fall, and there was no ladder or other means of safely accessing the scaffold. Additionally, the employees were not wearing head protection and the lift's outriggers were improperly set, which could potentially cause it to tip over.
"These conditions exposed workers to potentially deadly or disabling falls of up to 12 feet to the concrete sidewalk below," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan area director. "Having effective fall protection in place and in use at all times is critical to avoiding needless accidents that can have devastating effects."
As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited the company for three repeat violations with $26,180 in proposed fines and three serious citations with $16,170 in proposed fines. A repeat violation exists 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. In this case, the repeat citations stem from OSHA having cited the company in November 2009 for similar hazards at a Wantagh work site. 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.
Detailed information about fall hazards and safeguards is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/construction.html. More information on scaffold hazards and safe work practices, including an interactive e-Tool, is available on line at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.
North Shore Neon Sign Co. 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. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.