OSHA Issues Citations in N.J. Construction Death

Santiago Yunganoula managed to save himself when the scaffolding on which he was standing gave way at a Montclair, N.J., construction site, only to watch his brother fall three stories to his death.

The Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) cited Sterling Properties, the developers of the BellClair of Montclair luxury apartment complex, with 17 alleged serious violations and issued proposed fines totaling $44,600.

The incident occurred March 27. OSHA's investigation following Yunganoula's death found:

  • The scaffold was incapable of holding its own weight, let alone that of the workers standing on it.
  • Footings were not level, and were incapable of supporting the loaded scaffold without shifting.
  • Scaffolding footings were set on a mixed group of supports, including scrap wood and concrete blocks.
  • uneven combinations of scrap wood and stacked concrete blocks. Employees working on the scaffold were exposed to a fall hazard of 34 feet to the ground below.
  • Employees on the scaffolding were not protected from falls, and some workers were exposed to potentials falls as great as 34 feet.
  • Employees were not trained to recognize and avoid unsafe scaffold conditions.
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