Falls are a leading cause of death among construction workers. That's a major reason why the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires safeguards against falls. These safeguards can protect workers from head injuries, spine injuries and other serious and potentially fatal injuries from falls at construction sites, but only when employers supply them and workers use them. Recently, OSHA proposed $272,720 in fines against four contractors for safety hazards that included failing to provide protection against falls.
The penalties, announced last month, come from an inspection in March of a 23-story hotel under construction. The largest proposed fine of $249,920 is for a general contractor based in Mamaroneck. OSHA found seven violations of its scaffolding and fall protection standards. It says workers were exposed to potentially fatal falls of up to 26 feet while they were on the scaffolding, and that the contractor knew about the severe hazards and did not correct them.
The general contractor's violations were severe enough to result in the placement on OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which requires follow-up inspections and allows OSHA to inspect any of the employer's facilities if it suspects similar violations have occurred.
In addition, OSHA recommends penalties against three other contractors.
- A siding contractor in Brooklyn received five serious citations for lack of fall protection and scaffolding violations. The proposed penalty is $13,200.
- A masonry contractor received three serious citations for failing to provide face and eye protection and for electrical hazards. The proposed fine is $7,600.
- A steel framing contractor received one serious citation for failing to train workers on the dangers of scaffolds. The proposed fine is $7,600.
Construction workers who have been injured in workplace accidents may have legal claims in addition to workers' compensation. An experienced attorney who handles construction accident claims can provide more information.
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $272,000 in fines, cites four contractors for safety hazards at midtown Manhattan site," Office of Public Affairs, Sept. 24, 2013
- Our law firm represents workers who have been injured in construction accidents in New York City. To learn more, visit our page on falls from heights.