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09-998-NEW/BOS 2009-264
Thurs., Aug. 27, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

Long Island, N.Y., contractor faces $72,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for fall hazards at New York City jobsite

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $72,000 in fines against Sorbara Construction, a Lynnbrook, N.Y., concrete contractor, for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards after a worker fell at a New York City worksite.

On March 20, a worker fell 10 feet from the 34th to the 33rd floor of a building under construction at 505 West 37th St. after dislodging the unsecured cover of a floor hole. OSHA's inspection identified several fall-related hazards including inadequate fall protection, unsecured and unmarked floor hole covers, a personal fall arrest system rigged so a worker could fall more than six feet, and failure to retrain workers to ensure they recognize such hazards. OSHA also found an ungrounded power tool, uncovered electrical outlet and discharged fire extinguishers.

"While it's fortunate that this worker was not killed, falls remain the number one killer in construction work," said Kay Gee, OSHA's acting area director in Manhattan. "One wrong step can end a worker's career or life. We want to emphasize to all contractors the importance of supplying effective fall protection safeguards and training to their workers."

OSHA has issued Sorbara Construction three repeat citations, with $62,500 in proposed fines, for the lack of fall protection and training and the ungrounded power tool, as the contractor had been cited by OSHA in November 2008 for similar hazards at a worksite at 333 East 91st St. in Manhattan.

Sorbara Construction also has been issued four serious citations, with $9,500 in fines, for the remaining hazards. Serious citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Detailed information on fall hazards and fall protection is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.

"One means by which employers can prevent new and recurring workplace hazards is through an effective safety and health management system in which they work with their employees on a continual basis to actively identify, analyze and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Sorbara Construction has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest these items before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


OSHA News Release - Table of Contents

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