A federal investigation into a fatal workplace injury on Aug. 19, 2021, at a Town of Oyster Bay municipal building has found a Setauket roofing contractor failed to provide necessary safeguards to protect employees against falls.
After an employee of DME Construction Associates Inc. died after falling 18 feet through an unprotected skylight, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection. The agency found that, in addition to the unprotected skylight, the employer exposed workers to falls of up to 22 feet from other unguarded roof openings and roof edges, and failed to provide employees with any personal fall protection equipment.
DME's job safety plan required fall protection for all employees walking or working on unprotected surfaces 6 feet or more above a lower level. Before this inspection, OSHA had cited DME seven times since 2011 for fall-related hazards, including not providing protection from falls through skylights and from roof edges, with more than $50,000 in unpaid fines.
Based on the company's violation history and intentional disregard of fall protection standards, which resulted in a worker fatality, OSHA issued nine willful violations to the company, including eight egregious per-instance citations for DME's failure to provide fall protection for each of the eight employees who worked on the roof. The agency also cited the company for four serious violations for other fall hazards, and for violations related to the crane in use on-site. Proposed penalties total $1,201,031. View OSHA's citations to DME.
“DME Construction Associates Inc. has continually ignored its legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace and that failure cost a worker their life,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York. “Ensuring worker safety is not an option. The U.S. Department of Labor will hold employers accountable when they knowingly disregard the law requiring the use of personal protective equipment.”
Founded in 1980, DME Construction Associates Inc. is a general contractor located in Setauket.
DME Construction Associates Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.