Occupational Safety & Health Administration

OSHA Fines Four Contractors for Fall, Safety Hazards on New Jersey Construction Site

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited four New Jersey contractors working on a 20-story building in Jersey City for exposing workers to fall hazards following a December 2011 inspection during which inspectors observed employees working on the fourth floor without personal fall protection or fall protection systems. Altura Concrete Inc. and Nathil Corp., both of Hasbrouck Heights, and White Diamonds Properties LLC and Blade Contracting Inc., both of Jersey City, face total proposed fines of $463,350.

Altura Concrete, Inc. and Nathil Corp., the concrete contractors for the foundation and superstructure of the building, hired Nathil to serve as project manager and directed 75 employees on site. The two companies have been cited for five willful violations - including four instance-by-instance (tat is, egregious) violations - for failing to protect workers from fall hazards created by open sides and edges on the fourth, sixth, seventh, eigth, 10th and 13th floors, as well as protect workers from fall hazards created by the misuse of self-supporting stepladders. A wilful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The citations carry $315,000 in penalties.

The companies also have received citations for nine serious violations, including failing to provide personal protective equipment, provide a cap for an acetylene tank in storage, store cylinders in an upright position, separate oxygen and acetylene tanks, provide fall protection for workers installing ribs, provide protection from protruding rebar, maintain shoring/reshoring plans on site, provide railings on stairs, protect workers from fall hazards created by open holes, secure the cover over a floor hole and mark the floor hole cover. The citations carry $40,500 in penalties. 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.

One other-than-serious violation has been cited for failing to record an injury on the OSHA 300 log. The citation carries a $900 penalty. 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.

General contractor White Diamonds Properties, with seven employees on site, has been issued citations for two willful violations involving failing to protect workers from fall hazards as well as citations for five serious violations related to improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, unprotected rebar and failing to have drawings for shoring/reshoring on site. The citations carry $95,400 in penalties.

Masonry contractor Blade Contracting, with 21 employees on site, has been cited with three serious violations for failing to protect workers from fall hazards, properly use a scaffold and inspect scaffold components for defects. The citations carry $11,550 in penalties.

"A project of this magnitude clearly needs an aggressive injury and illness prevention plan in place to prevent falls and other hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Citations for Altura Concrete Inc. and Nathil Corp. can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AlturaConcreteIncNathilCorporation_316089861_0601_12.pdf ;

White Diamonds Properties LLC at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WhiteDiamondsPropertiesLLC_316089853_0601_12.pdf; and Blade Contracting Inc. at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BladeContractingInc316229608_0601_12.pdf.

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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 Parsippany Area Office at 973-263-1003.

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