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Simple step could have saved NY construction worker, says OSHA (6/20)

June 20, 2011
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Taking a “simple and obvious precaution” could have prevented the death of a worker at a NY construction site, according to Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director in Manhattan.

OSHA cited Sing Da Corp., H Rock Corp. and Vera Construction Inc. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following the agency's investigation of a Jan. 10 fatality that occurred on a construction site in Elmhurst, NY.

OSHA's investigation found that, at the time of the incident, employees were filling an 18-foot-high by 65-foot-long concrete block wall with cement when the wall collapsed, killing one employee and hospitalizing three others. These workers were employees of Sing Da Corp., which does business as Chung Hing Co.

Gee said the tragic accident could have been avoided if the block wall had been braced before being filled with cement.

Sing Da Corp. was cited for one willful violation carrying a proposed fine of $42,000 for failing to brace the block wall. The company also was cited for five serious violations with proposed penalties of $21,000 for various scaffold-related safety hazards.

H Rock Corp. was cited for three serious violations related to scaffold safety and not bracing the concrete wall, as well as for three serious violations related to unguarded floor holes, lack of head protection and lack of a safety program. Proposed penalties total $38,000.

Vera Construction Inc. was cited for three serious violations with $8,580 in penalties for unguarded floor holes, not having caps on reinforcing steel and not having a safety program. Two repeat violations with fines of $6,732 also were cited for hazard communication failures and a lack of hard hats. The company received similar citations in 2008 and 2009.

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