Fatal Manhattan Construction Accident Results in OSHA Citations

OSHA cited and fined DCM Erectors of New York City for allegedly exposing employees to fatal safety hazards at a Manhattan construction site.

According to OSHA, DCM Erectors committed alleged serious and repeat violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and issued fines of $60,000. OSHA investigated the employer after an incident on Dec. 6, 2002, in which a company employee was killed in a fall at a construction site at 731 Lexington Ave.

The most significant citation is an alleged repeat violation that directly relates to the accident, in which an employee fell through an unprotected floor opening and plunged to his death on a steel deck 35 feet below. The citation includes a proposed penalty of $50,000 and charges the employer with failing to provide proper fall protection for employees working next to an unguarded floor opening. DCM Erectors was cited for a similar violation at the same site less than two months earlier.

"This employer was cited previously for a similar violation on this same project, yet continued to expose employees to the same hazards knowing full well the potential for a serious accident," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director in Manhattan. "This outrageous flaunting of the law had very tragic consequences."

OSHA is also citing DCM Erectors for two alleged serious violations, each carrying a proposed penalty of $5,000, for failing to train employees exposed to fall hazards in how to recognize and minimize those hazards and for failing to require employees to use eye protection in hazardous situations.

A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew, or should have known. A repeat violation occurs when a company has been cited for similar violations within the past three years and the citation has become a final order.

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

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