OSHA Fines N.J. Contractor for Fall Hazards, Failing to Report Worker Death

OSHA has cited a Newark, N.J., roofing contractor for alleged fall hazards and for failing to report the death of a worker who suffered a fatal fall at a Flushing, N.Y., worksite.

Employees of Jose Construction Corp. were working on a roof on March 27 when a worker fell 20 feet from a ladder. He died of his injuries on April 1.

OSHA began its investigation on April 26, after learning of the fatality from a third party.

"Falls are one of the four leading causes of death in construction, and ladders are present at virtually every job site," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y. "It's imperative that ladders be properly erected and used. Employees should be trained in safe work practices to prevent deaths such as this one."

According to OSHA, the agency's inspection found that the 20-foot extension ladder workers used to access the roof did not extend 3 feet above the roof's edge, as required. The ladder allegedly lacked a grasping device to aid workers in safely mounting and dismounting.

In addition, the agency says, employees were carrying bags of tools while climbing the ladder, and they were not trained in how to properly set up and use the ladder.

Jose Construction Corp. was issued three serious citations with proposed fines of $4,500 for these conditions.

The company also was issued an other-than-serious citation with a $1,500 fine for not informing OSHA of the employee's death. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

"Employers are required to notify OSHA of any occupational fatality within 8 hours of the employee's death," said Mendelson. "This is to ensure a prompt inspection and identification of any hazardous conditions. Failing to inform OSHA of a worker's death will not preclude an inspection and can prompt additional penalties."

TAGS: Archive OSHA
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