N.Y. Contractor Faces $130,000 in Fines Following Worker Death at Jobsite

October 25, 2004

The death of a worker who fell 15 feet from an unguarded scaffold at a Long Island City, New York worksite would have been prevented if his employer had supplied the required fall protection, reports the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Jerrick Contracting Company Inc., a Brooklyn-based masonry, roofing and waterproofing contractor, has been fined $130,000 for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of safety standards following the April 24 accident at a jobsite located at 34-11 47th Ave.

OSHA’s inspection reportedly found that three scaffolds on the jobsite, including the one from which the worker fell, were not fully planked and lacked guardrails or some other means of preventing falls. OSHA issued two willful citations, carrying $112,000 in fines, for these fall hazards. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

OSHA also determined that Jerrick failed to train workers on scaffold hazards, did not provide needed ladders for safe access to different work levels and failed to properly ground electrical equipment. OSHA had previously cited Jerrick in 2002 and 2003 for substantially similar hazards at jobsites in Chatham and Brooklyn, N.Y.

As a result, three repeat citations, carrying $16,500 in fines, were issued for these items. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has previously been cited for similar hazards and those citations have become final.

Jerrick was also issued a serious citation, with a $1,500 fine, for not developing and implementing a respiratory protection program for employees. OSHA defines a serious violation as a condition that exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.

Jerrick has elected to contest its citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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