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December 08, 2021
Queens contractor faces $374K OSHA penalty after fatal worker fall

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it is seeking proposed penalties totaling $374,603 following the death of a worker who fell about 60 feet from a roof during demolition of a Brooklyn building. OSHA cited Richmond Construction Inc. of Jamaica, New York, for two willful, one repeat, and six serious violations of workplace safety standards.

The Queens construction contractor failed to provide and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards that would have prevented the worker’s death, according to the agency.

OSHA’s fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. It cited 5,295 violations in fiscal year (FY) 2021. The fall protection training requirements standard (§1926.503) is the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard, cited 1,666 times in FY 2021.

“Richmond Construction Inc. ignored its legal responsibility to protect workers from falls and the result was the loss of a worker’s life,” New York City Area Director Kay Gee said in an agency statement.

“Complying with OSHA standards is not optional. It is required to ensure workers return home unharmed at the end of the day.”

According to the agency, Richmond Construction failed to:

  • Provide employees with effective fall protection and fall protection training.
  • Have a competent person inspect the roof, lifeline systems, and fall arrest harnesses before employees started work. A competent person has the knowledge to spot hazards and the authority to correct them.
  • Have a qualified person supervise the design, installation, and use of the horizontal lifeline.
  • Ensure the lifeline system could support at least 5,000 pounds.
  • Ensure employees did not connect their fall protection lanyards to anchor points below their harness rings.
  • Provide eye and ear protection to employees operating jackhammers.

Roofing contractor facing $245K OSHA fine

A Rockland County, New York, roofing contractor is facing $244,581 in proposed OSHA penalties, following three separate inspections, for repeatedly exposing residential roof workers to potentially deadly falls, according to the agency. The agency identified nine willful violations in its inspections of ALJ Home Improvement Inc. worksites.  Violations included employees working without required fall protection as they removed sheathing and performed other roofing work and workers lacking protective headgear and face and eye shields to prevent injuries from flying or falling debris, plywood, nails, and other objects.

The agency reports it cited the company for fall-related hazards at three other worksites in New York and New Jersey between 2019 and 2021, including one in Kiamesha Lake, New York, where a worker died after a fall in February 2019.

“ALJ Home Improvement’s intentional and repeated failure to install required fall safeguards continues to place its employees at risk of deadly or disabling injuries,” Tarrytown, New York, Area Director Robert Garvey said in an agency statement.

“Fall-related fatalities are preventable if responsible employers plan ahead to do the job safely, provide their workers with proper and effective training and equipment, and make sure they use it.”

The agency noted that Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that falls are the leading cause of death in construction work in the United States, accounting for 320 deaths out of 1,008 construction fatalities in 2018.

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