Double Fatal Construction Accident Results in OSHA Citations

Exposing employees to fatal safety hazards at a Manhattan construction site has resulted in a Brooklyn, N.Y. employer being cited by OSHA and fined $27,200.

OSHA cited Atlantic Heydt Corp. for alleged serious and repeat violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act after the agency investigated an accident on Aug. 23, 2002, in which two employees of the company were killed at a construction site at 300 Madison Ave. in New York City.

The two most significant citations, both alleged repeat violations, relate directly to the accident, in which the two workers fell to their deaths when the material hoist on which they were working plunged 280 feet to the ground. One citation charges the employer with failing to provide employees working at an elevation of 280 feet with proper fall protection. The other is for failing to comply with the manufacturer's safety requirements for securing and rigging the material hoist on which the employees were working.

"This employer was cited previously for similar violations on another project, yet exposed employees on this project to the same hazards with full knowledge of the potential dangers," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director in Manhattan. "That's totally unacceptable."

OSHA is also citing the company for five alleged serious violations including: unsafe stacking of stored materials at the construction site; exposing employees to the hazards of uncovered floor holes; failing to require employees to use hardhats to protect against falling objects; failing to post the rated load capacity on material hoist cars; and exposing employees using unevenly spaced ladders to fall hazards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, and/or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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