Three Contractors Cited by OSHA for Fall Hazards

OSHA cited general contractor Arberia & Associates and subs K&G Haxhari Construction (carpentry) and Mondi Construction Inc. (masonry) for a total of 21 alleged violations of workplace safety standards with $71,340 in total penalties for violations at a worksite in the Bronx.

OSHA’s Tarrytown Area Office opened its inspection July 28 after employees were observed at a Muliner Avenue construction site working at heights of 24 feet above the ground on scaffolds that lacked guardrails. A variety of tripping, electrical, training and other scaffold hazards also were identified at the site.

“The absence of required guardrails exposed these workers to potentially deadly or disabling falls of more than two stories,” said Diana Cortez, OSHA’s area director for Bronx, Westchester and Rockland counties. “While it is fortunate that no one fell, workplace safety cannot be left to the whims of fortune.”

Specifically, Mondi Construction was cited for five repeat and seven serious violations with $45,540 in proposed fines for the lack of scaffold guardrails and stair handrails, the lack of hazard recognition training, tripping hazards, weakened scaffolding planks, the lack of eye protection and multiple electrical hazards. The employer was cited for similar violations in May 2008 at a Bronx, N.Y., worksite. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last 5 years. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

K&G Haxhari Construction was cited for nine serious violations with $19,800 in fines for tripping hazards and missing stair handrails, the lack of hazard recognition training and multiple electrical hazards. Arberia & Associates General Contractors was cited for two serious violations with $6,000 in fines for the lack of fall protection on stair landings and missing stair handrails.

“To prevent hazards such as these, employers should implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work continuously with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

The contractors have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with Cortez or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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