Occupational Safety & Health Administration

OSHA Cites Brooklyn Steel Erector Following Fatal Structure Collapse at Brighton Beach

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited SP&K Construction, a Brooklyn contractor, for alleged safety violations in connection with a fatal structural collapse in Brighton Beach. The contractor was erecting a multistory building at 2929 Brighton Ave. on Nov. 8, 2011, when the front bays of the third, fourth and fifth floors collapsed as concrete was poured onto the fourth and third floors.

"This employer clearly knew the steel erection was incorrect and unstable, which led to the death of one worker and the hospitalization of four others," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "Had proper procedures and safeguards been followed, this fatal collapse could have been prevented."

An inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office found that the structural stability of the floors was not maintained during the steel erection process and the exterior wall framing was not constructed to maintain structural stability during the erection process. Among other deficiencies, the structural frame was inadequately braced and secured, and was laterally unstable; the exterior walls were not plumbed and properly aligned; exterior stud walls were not properly connected to header members; all metal c-joists were not secured as required; and nails were used in place of screws to secure steel decking to c-joists in some locations.

Fall protection training was not provided to employees working on the scaffolds and on the unprotected edges of the third, fourth and fifth floors, exposing them to falls of 10 to 40 feet. The scaffold had not been properly braced and had not been inspected for defects by a competent person with the knowledge to identify and authority to correct hazards.

SP&K received a citation for a willful violation involving the lack of structural stability; citations for eight serious violations involving the lack of fall protection, training and competent person inspections; and citations for two other-than-serious violations involving an incomplete injury and illness log. The citations carry $77,880 in proposed penalties.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Visit OSHA's new fall prevention campaign web page, http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls, for detailed guidance available in English and Spanish.

SP&K Construction has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Manhattan office at 212-620-3200.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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