The reasons behind New York City’s high – and rising – rate of construction industry injuries and fatalities can be seen in a recent OSHA enforcement action against a Brooklyn-based employer.

Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov was cited for 21 safety violations, having exposed its workers from everything from electrical to fall, struck-by, impalement and laceration hazards. The violations were found at a six-story school and office building the company was building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.


"The nature and breadth of these violations are disturbing,” said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. “Falls and electrocution are two of the four hazards that account for most injuries and deaths in construction work.”

The company was cited for:

  • Exposed live electrical outlets and parts, misused and damaged electrical cords throughout the worksite.
  • No fall protection for employees working at unguarded building edges and an unguarded elevator shaft.
  • An inadequately planked scaffold that was not erected under the supervision of a competent person.
  • Employees climbing framing and cross-bracing to access the scaffold.
  • Unguarded skylights and floor holes.
  • Impalement hazards from unguarded projecting steel rebar.
  • Uncapped and unsecured compressed gas cylinders.
  • Objects falling from an unguarded elevator shaft.
  • A grinder not guarded against employee contact.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office under its local emphasis program on construction.

Proposed penalties: $49,200