Three N.Y. Construction Contractors Face More Than $160,000 in OSHA Fines

August 4, 2004

The alleged failure of three construction contractors to provide their employees with protection from falls and other hazards at a Bronx, N.Y., construction site has resulted in more than $160,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The lack of fall protection led to the death of a worker last February

OSHA’s investigation, conducted between Feb. 5, 2004, and the end of July by OSHA’s Tarrytown, N.Y., office, was in response to the death of a worker who fell 64 feet through an unguarded window opening at an apartment building construction site at 1240 Washington Ave., Bronx, N.Y.

As a result of the investigation, OSHA has cited three contractors, MC&O Construction Inc., of Maspeth, N.Y; Joy Construction Corp. of New York City; and New York Partition and Drywall Corp. of Happauge, N.Y, for alleged serious and willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Diana Cortez, OSHA’s area director in Tarrytown, reports that MC&O Construction Inc., the employer of the worker killed in the accident, has been cited for four alleged serious violations for failure to train workers with regard to fall protection hazards and failure to guard stairs and landings and to cap protruding metal rebars. These alleged violations carry proposed penalties of $14,000. The company has also been cited for two alleged willful violations, with proposed penalties of $126,000, for failing to guard an elevator shaft and a window wall opening.

Joy Construction Corp. was cited for five alleged serious violations, carrying $13,500 in proposed penalties, for failure to guard an elevator shaft, a window wall opening, stairs and landings, and failure to cap protruding metal rebars. New York Partition and Drywall Corp., was cited for five similar alleged serious violations and fined $6,750.

A “willful” violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A “serious” violation is cited for hazards that pose a substantial probability to cause serious physical harm or death to an employee.

The contractors have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply with them, or request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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