A masonry contracting company employee survived an 80-foot fall from a scaffold at a New York City jobsite, but the company hasn’t escaped the enforcement reach of OSHA.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued six “serious” and one “repeat” violation to a masonry contractor, Navillus Contracting Tile Inc., of New York, totaling $74,500 in proposed fines.
OSHA’s Region 2 office said the worker was on a 118-foot-high scaffold at a work site in Brooklyn when he fell to a lower level. The incident occurred on Sept. 28, 2011.
“This employee is fortunate to have escaped death, but what is unfortunate is that this fall occurred in the first place,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. “It is effective scaffold maintenance, work practices and fall protection—not luck—that are essential to protecting workers against life-threatening falls.”
An inspection by OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office alleged that the scaffold platform was not fully planked and lacked guardrails, an aluminum access platform was not secured against displacement, another worker was not tied off to a safe anchorage point, and employees accessed work areas by climbing up and down the scaffold frames.
The alleged conditions resulted in citations for six serious violations, with $36,000 in proposed fines. 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.
|Navillus Contracting Tile Inc.'s website asserts that the company has developed and published a comprehensive safety program.|
The company was also issued a citation for a repeat violation with a proposed fine of $38,500 because of the alleged lack of guardrails. 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 five years. OSHA cited Navillus in September 2008 for a similar hazard at a Bronx work site.
The company did not respond to D+D requests for comment.
The company says on its website, www.navillusinc.com, that it was founded in 1987 and specializes in high-end commercial masonry, tiling and stone work.
Also, according to the company’s mission statement, it has developed and published a “comprehensive safety program addressing specific safety concerns and providing guidance for the performance of individual job tasks within the framework of appropriate OSHA standards.”
The company also states that its Navillus Managed Safety Program “provides continual reassessment of methods, equipment and jobsite practice ensuring each employee is aware of their surroundings and activity involved in the safety of others.”
Detailed information on scaffolding hazards and safeguards is available at OSHA scaffolding safeguards.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.