OSHA Penalizes Companies for Fall-Related Violations

12.09.2021
HR & Safety

Two New York contractors face hundreds of thousands of dollars in Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalties linked to safety violations, including an incident that led to the death of a worker.

A construction worker in Brooklyn was killed in May of 2021 after falling 60 feet from a building during a demolition. 

An OSHA investigation found Richmond Construction failed to provide and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards that would have prevented the worker’s death. 

OSHA cited Richmond Construction for nine willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards, along with more than $370,000 in proposed penalties. 

OSHA said the company failed to provide employees with effective fall protection training, have a competent person with knowledge about hazards inspect the roof, lifeline systems, and fall harness, as well as spot other hazards. 

The investigation found Richmond Construction did not have a qualified person supervise the horizontal lifeline from design to installation, nor did the company check if the system was capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds. 

In addition, OSHA said the company failed to give employees eye and ear protection for jackhammer operations, and did not make sure employees connected fall protection lanyards to anchor points below their harness rings. 

Fall Protection

In the same month, inspectors found ALJ Home Improvement, a Rockland County roofing contractor, was repeatedly putting workers in danger.

OSHA reported employees working without required fall protection as they removed sheathing and performed other roofing work, and workers were without protective headgear and face and eye shields.

ALJ Home Improvement faces $244,581 in proposed penalties following the May inspections, but it was not their first experience with OSHA fines. 

OSHA cited the company for fall-related hazards at three other work sites in New York and New Jersey between 2019 and 2021, including one in Kiamesha Lake where a worker died after a fall in February 2019.

Falls accounted for 320 deaths in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Residential construction employers must protect workers against falls under the law by using guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems when employees are working six feet or more above lower levels. They are also required to provide personal protective equipment. 

“Fall-related fatalities are preventable if responsible employers plan ahead to do the job safely, provide their workers with proper and effective training and equipment, and make sure they use it,” said Tarrytown OSHA area director Robert Garvey. 

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