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City cited in accident that leaves worker with herniated discs (7/24)

July 24, 2007
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The city of Niagara Falls, N.Y., has been hit with six safety violations from the state’s Department of Labor in connection with a workplace injury accident in May.

Meanwhile, the injured maintenance worker has filed a grievance with the city and is still questioning why, after two months, Department of Public Works Manager John Soro has never been disciplined for allowing the unsafe conditions to continue, according to the Niagara Gazette.

Mark Dinnocenzio was operating the city’s asphalt recycling machine at the corporation yard on May 3 when he slipped from a makeshift platform consisting of concrete cylinders and fell three feet, landing face first onto the ground. Dinnocenzio suffered three bulging discs and two herniated discs in his back and undergoes chiropractic care three times a week.

According to a report filed by an outside safety consultant the city employs, the accident could have been prevented if safety suggestions the group made seven months earlier were followed by Soro.

The consultants suggested that a work platform with railing be built after inspecting the new $150,000 machine on Nov. 21, but no action was taken.

The lack of a railing and toe board to secure the platform is one of three “serious” violations for which the worksite has been cited by the department of labor’s Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH). The report also lists two other serious violations at the site: A railing was not installed with the stairway leading up to the platform, and containers consisting of hazardous chemicals at the workplace were not properly labeled.

The lack of a written respiratory protection program installed at the worksite was among three “non-serious” violations against the city listed in the PESH report. In addition, the city was tagged for not properly assessing the workplace to determine if hazards were present.

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