OSHA proposes more than $125,000 in fines against Brooklyn, NY, contractor after partial building collapse (6/2)
On Nov. 23, 2009, during the installation of pre-cast concrete stairs on the third floor of a six-story residential building under construction at 433 3rd Ave., a collapse of several planks and stairs occurred. OSHA's inspection found that the structural steel I-beam that supported the planks and stairs had not been bolted and welded as required to provide stability, and the employees who removed the damaged concrete planks from the stairwell were exposed to falls of 40 feet to the ground due to a lack of fall protection. As a result, OSHA has issued two willful citations, with $112,000 in proposed fines, against New York Plank Services. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
In addition, workers had not been trained to recognize fall hazards and in the correct use of fall protection equipment; defective rigging equipment had not been removed from service; and the jobsite lacked a program for frequent and regular inspections to identify hazards. These conditions resulted in three serious citations with $9,000 in fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Finally, the company has been issued eight other-than-serious citations, with $4,800 in fines for incomplete or inadequate recording of occupational illness and injuries.
New York Plank Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200.