OSHA has cited Western Waterproofing Co. Inc.—doing business as Western Specialty Contractors—for exposing employees to serious injuries at a New York City construction worksite after a terrifying crane accident.
An unsecured mini-crane overturned and fell four stories at a luxury residential construction site at East 125th Street on June 25, 2018.
The St. Louis, Missouri-based contractor faces $155,204 in proposed penalties, and two of its employees face criminal charges.
The incident resulted in one ironworker sustaining severe head trauma after being catapulted to the ground by the crane's boom, while another ironworker suffered severe spinal injuries when he was struck in the back by the crane.
OSHA cited Western for not ensuring that the employee assigned to operate the crane was trained, evaluated, and determined competent to operate the equipment; for operating the crane in excess of its rated lifting capacity; and for not verifying that the load being lifted was within the crane's rated lifting capacity.
"This employer knowingly put workers at risk by failing to ensure that the crane was operated by a competent person," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan Area Office Director, in a statement.
"Effective training of employees, knowledge of equipment's limits, and correct operation of equipment are critical to preventing injuries."
Separately, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Western and the indictment of the company's project manager and superintendent on criminal charges, including second-degree felony assault, in connection with the incident.
“This was one of the most appalling safety lapses in recent memory: the supervisors of this site were supposed to be responsible for safety, but instead they set in motion a reckless and potentially lethal chain of events,” said New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler in a statement released by the District Attorney’s Office.
“Their callous disregard for safety rules, combined with a wildly overtaxed mini-crane, nearly cost several workers their lives.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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.
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