The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Navillus Contracting Tile Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards at a work site located at 2738 86th St. in Brooklyn. The Manhattan-based masonry contractor was cited following a Sept. 28, 2011, incident in which an employee fell 80 feet to a lower level from the top of a 118-foot-high scaffold.
"This employee is fortunate to have escaped death, but what is unfortunate is that this fall occurred in the first place," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "It is effective scaffold maintenance, work practices and fall protection – not luck – that are essential to protecting workers against life-threatening falls."
An inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office found that the scaffold platform was not fully planked and lacked guardrails, an aluminum access platform was not secured against displacement, another worker was not tied off to a safe anchorage point, and employees accessed work areas by climbing up and down the scaffold frames. These conditions resulted in citations for six serious violations, with $36,000 in proposed fines. 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 repeat violation with a proposed fine of $38,500 involves a lack of guardrails. A repeat violation exists 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. OSHA cited Navillus in September 2008 for a similar hazard at a Bronx work site.
"To prevent hazards such as these, employers should implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work continuously with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Detailed information on scaffolding hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/scaffolding/index.html.
Navillus 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.