Brooklyn and Staten Island Contractors Fined $90K by OSHA
OSHA proposes $90,000 in fines after Brooklyn balcony collapse
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a total of $90,000 in fines against four New York contractors as the result of a Dec. 15, 2009, balcony collapse at a five-story residential building under construction at 701 Union St. in Brooklyn.
Cited are steel erection contractor N&C Iron Works Inc. of Brooklyn and three Staten Island contractors, project general contractor NNF Enterprises Inc. doing business as FDM Construction, masonry subcontractor IVM General Construction Inc. and carpentry subcontractor Barbaria Construction.
An employee of N&C Iron Works fell 20 feet when the second floor balcony he was standing on collapsed as he was attempting to jack up the third floor balcony. OSHA's inspection found that the second floor balcony was overloaded, improperly constructed and incapable of supporting its weight load. The scaffold on which employees were performing steel erection work was improperly constructed and employees lacked fall protection.
"These employers failed to ensure that all necessary safeguards were in place and in use, thus exposing workers at this jobsite to potentially deadly fall and crushing hazards," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "While it is fortunate that no one was killed in this incident, worksite safety and workers' lives cannot and must never be dependent on chance or luck."
As a result of its investigation, OSHA has fined NNF Enterprises $46,250 for failing to brace or support the balcony, unsecured scaffold decking, no regular worksite safety inspections, debris in an access stairway and missing railings. N&C Iron Works Inc. has been fined $29,250 for lack of fall protection, not training employees on fall and scaffold hazards, overloading and not ensuring the stability of the balcony, stairway debris and missing railings. IVM General Construction Inc. has been fined $13,000 for the overloaded balcony, the inadequately constructed and planked scaffold, lack of fall protection, stairway debris and missing railings. Barbaria Construction has been fined $1,500 for unsecured scaffold decking.
"One means of preventing hazards that can lead to incidents such as this is for employers to establish effective, comprehensive workplace safety and health programs that involve their employees in proactively evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards before they occur," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. These inspections were conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
About the Author
Ted Fitzgerald is a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Labor.