OSHA has proposed fines totaling $272,720 against four New York contractors for safety hazards found during the construction of a midtown Manhattan hotel after a March 21, 2013 inspection. The inspection was conducted in response to a complaint about fall hazards at the 325 W. 33rd St. work site.
Mamaroneck-based general contractor Flintlock Construction Services LLC faces the largest penalties, totaling $249,920. Flintlock was cited for seven violations of OSHA's fall protection and scaffolding standards that involved workers exposed to potentially fatal falls of up to 26 feet while they were on scaffolding.
"These employees were one trip, slip or misstep away from a deadly or disabling fall. Falls are the leading cause of death among workers in construction," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. "There is no excuse for an employer's failure to supply and ensure the use of legally required safeguards that can prevent injuries and save lives. The sizable fines proposed reflect both the severity of these hazards and that Flintlock was aware of, and failed to correct, the hazards."
Flintlock failed to provide and ensure the use of fall protection, such as guardrails or personal fall-arrest systems, for workers on the scaffold; the scaffold lacked a safe means of access, causing workers to climb its cross-bracing to reach their work platforms; the work platforms were not fully planked; and the scaffold was not tied off to restrain it from tipping. These conditions resulted in the issuance of four willful citations, with $233,200 in fines to Flintlock.
OSHA also issued three serious citations, with $16,720 in fines, to Flintlock for additional hazards, including failing to provide training on the hazards associated with erecting scaffolds; failing to have a competent person determine the feasibility of providing fall protection for workers erecting and dismantling the scaffolding; a scaffold walkway that was too narrow; and inadequate anchorage for the fall protection system.
Due to the nature and severity of violations committed by Flintlock Construction Services LLC, the general contractor has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
V&P Altitude Corp., a Brooklyn-based siding contractor, was issued five serious citations, with $13,200 in fines, for lack of fall protection; no safe access to the scaffolding; not fully planking the scaffold platforms; failing to tie off the scaffolding; and not locking mobile scaffold wheels and casters.
SMK Associates, an Astoria-based masonry contractor, was issued three serious citations, with $7,600 in fines, for electrical hazards and failing to provide eye and face protection. Maspeth Steel Fabricators Inc., a Maspeth-based steel framing contractor, was issued one serious citation, with a $2,000 fine, for failing to provide training on the hazards of working on scaffolds.
Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.