The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Roth Metal Works, a Brooklyn steel erection contractor, for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards after an employee sustained a fatal fall at a Brooklyn construction site.
On May 27, Roth Metal Works employees were performing steel erection work on the top level of a six-story residential building under construction at 892 Bedford Ave. As a worker was attempting to connect a steel beam to form a balcony, the cantilevered steel beam section he was working on shifted, and he fell approximately 50 feet to the ground.
OSHA's inspection found that this section and other steel beams on the sixth-floor level had not been stabilized to prevent displacement during steel erection activities, thus exposing workers to the hazards of structural steel collapses and falls. The inspection also determined that the worker lacked fall protection, and that a scaffold lacking cross-bracing and a safe means of access had not been erected and moved under the supervision of a competent person.
"This case illustrates the ultimate cost a worker can pay when required protections are absent or disregarded," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan area director. "Had the proper steel erection and fall protection safeguards been in place, these hazards would not have existed, and this death would have been prevented."
As a result of its inspection, OSHA issued Roth Metal Works one willful citation for failing to stabilize the steel beams and four serious citations for the lack of fall protection and scaffold hazards. 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 citation is issued 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. The company faces a total of $45,750 in proposed fines.
"One means of eliminating hazards such as these is for employers to establish an illness and injury prevention program, in which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Roth Metal Works has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to meet with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was 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-OSHA (6742).
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 assure 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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