The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited three contractors with proposed penalties totaling $465,410 for alleged willful and serious workplace safety violations at a construction worksite located at 14 Brooklyn Avenue in Valley Stream.
Electrocution hazards accounted for the largest of the fines after inspectors from OSHA's Long Island Area Office found that workers for the three contractors performed their concrete work and crane operations close to energized 13,200-volt overhead power lines. Vordonia Contracting and Supplies Corp./Alma Realty Corp. of Long Island City was the general contractor on construction of a five-story concrete business and residential building where the violations were found. Masonry Services Inc., doing business as MSI, of Brooklyn, and North Eastern Precast LLC, of Fultonville, were the masonry and concrete subcontractors.
All three employers were issued willful citations for allowing employees and crane operations in close proximity to the power lines. They were issued serious citations for not marking the power lines with warning signs. MSI and North Eastern Precast were issued serious citations for not assuming the power lines were energized; checking with the utility operator whether lines had been de-energized; training workers on electrocution hazards; having cranes inspected by a qualified person after assembly; marking the crane's swing radius; having protective helmets; and labeled and protected rigging. All three employers were issued serious citations for not marking overhead power lines with warning signs. MSI was issued a repeat citation for unguarded rebar; the company was cited in March 2010 for the same hazard at a Brooklyn worksite.
In total, Vordonia was issued two willful and one serious citation, with $145,530 in fines; MSI was issued two willful, one repeat and 10 serious citations, with $181,280 in fines; and North Eastern Precast was issued two willful and 10 serious citations, with $138,600 in fines.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/804265_Masonry_Services_Citations.pdf, http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/804281_North_Eastern_Citations.pdf and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/777302_Vordonia_Citations.pdf.
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. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Each employer 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.