OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
October 10, 2002
OSHA Contact: Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999
Inspector General Contact: Nancy Ruiz-de-Gamboa
President of Tri-State Scaffolding in New York
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued the following statement today:
"This indictment is a strong message to employers and employees alike that violations of worker protection laws will not be tolerated. The deaths and injuries suffered by the workers in last October's incident were a preventable tragedy and a stark reminder that there are still dangerous workplaces in this country, including ones where Hispanic and other immigrant workers are employed. We are determined to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that safety and health protections for all workers are vigorously enforced."
In addition, U.S. Department of Labor Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell issued the following statement:
"A willful disregard for the safety and health of workers is an intolerable offense. Through our criminal investigations program, the Office of the Inspector General will assist the Department in vigorously investigating and seeking the prosecution of employers and companies that blatantly place workers in harm's way."
EDITORS NOTE: Today Robert M. Morgenthau, Manhattan's District Attorney, unsealed a criminal indictment against Phil Minucci, President of Tri-State Scaffolding & Equipment Supplies, Inc., for five counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and four counts of Assault in the Second Degree. Five workers died and four more were injured in the accident, which took place on October 24, 2001 at 210 Park Avenue South in Manhattan, in a building that was undergoing restoration. Nesa, Inc. was the general contractor on the project; Tri-State Scaffolding was hired by Nesa, Inc. to build the scaffolding; and New Millennium was hired by a DPA, a subcontractor of Nesa, Inc., to perform the demolition and restoration work.
In April of this year, OSHA issued citations against Tri-State and the two other contractors for improperly erected scaffolding and failure to train workers on the hazards of working with scaffolding The citations against Tri-State Scaffolding were two willful and four serious violations, with a penalty of $146,600, for erection of a scaffold that violated scaffold safety rules; for erecting a scaffold not designed by a professional engineer; and other violations of scaffolding and worker protection rules.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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