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OSHA News Release
Region 2

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Region 2 News Release: 06-1374-NEW/BOS 2006-294
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2075

OSHA Fines Elmhurst, N.Y., Contractor for Fall and Scaffold Hazards Following Worker Death at Forest Hills Job Site

NEW YORK -- An Elmhurst, N.Y., contractor faces $16,000 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a fatal scaffold collapse at a Forest Hills, N.Y., work site.

On April 7, two employees of Roosevelt Contracting Co. Inc. were pointing brick on a building at 102-25 67th Drive, when one side of the two-point suspended scaffold from which they were working collapsed. This caused one worker to fall 40 feet to his death.

"Falls are a hazard for employees working on scaffolds. That danger increases whenever basic, required safeguards are absent," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y. "To prevent these fatalities, it is imperative that employers ensure the use of fall protection and effectively train their employees."

OSHA's inspection found that the employees lacked adequate fall protection. One had no fall protection, while the other was not tied off to a secure anchorage point. They also had not been trained to recognize the hazards associated with scaffold work.

In addition, the scaffold was not secured properly to the building and lacked guardrails and a ladder or other safe means of access. Employees were exposed to tripping and fall hazards while climbing the parapet wall on the roof. Finally, scaffolds were not erected under the supervision of a competent person with both the knowledge to identify hazards and the authority to correct them.

Roosevelt Contracting Co. Inc. was cited for one alleged willful violation with a $7,000 proposed fine for not having the scaffolds erected under the supervision of a competent person. It was cited with six alleged serious violations with $9,000 in proposed fines for the other hazards. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. 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.

Roosevelt Contracting Co. Inc. 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


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