Brooklyn Contractor Contests OSHA Citations Following Worker Death

The death of a worker who fell 15 feet from an unguarded scaffold at a Long Island City worksite would have been prevented if his employer had supplied the required fall protection, according to OSHA.

Employer Jerrick Contracting Co. Inc., a Brooklyn-based masonry, roofing and waterproofing contractor, disagrees, and has decided to contest the $130,000 for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of safety standards issued by OSHA following the April 24 accident.

OSHA's inspection found that three scaffolds on the job site, 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 alleges 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 job sites 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 will contest its citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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