Region 2 News Release: 06-1373-NEW/BOS 2006-223
Monday, August 14, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Newark, N.J., roofing contractor for alleged fall hazards and failing to report the death of a worker who suffered a fatal fall at a Flushing, N.Y., work site.
Employees of Jose Construction Corp. were working on the roof at 51-30 Roosevelt Ave. on March 27, when a worker fell 20 feet from a ladder. He died of his injuries on April 1. OSHA began its investigation on April 26, after learning of the fatality from a third party.
"Falls are one of the four leading causes of death in construction, and ladders are present at virtually every job site," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y. "It's imperative that ladders be properly erected and used. Employees should be trained in safe work practices to prevent deaths such as this one."
OSHA's inspection found that the 20-foot extension ladder that workers used to access the roof did not extend 3 feet above the roof's edge, as required. The ladder lacked a grasping device to aid workers in safely mounting and dismounting. In addition, employees were carrying bags of tools while climbing the ladder, and they were not trained in how to properly set up and use the ladder.
Jose Construction Corp. was issued three serious citations with proposed fines of $4,500 for these conditions. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company was also issued an other-than-serious citation with a $1,500 fine for not informing OSHA of the employee's death. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
"Employers are required to notify OSHA of any occupational fatality within eight hours of the employee's death," said Mendelson. "This is to ensure a prompt inspection and identification of any hazardous conditions. Failing to inform OSHA of a worker's death will not preclude an inspection and can prompt additional penalties."
Jose Construction Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Queens, N.Y., district office. Employers and employees in the borough with questions regarding workplace safety and heath standards may call (718) 279-9060.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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