NY Masonry Contractor to Contest Willful Fall, Impalement Charges

OSHA cited Damap Construction Inc. of Spring Valley, N.Y., for alleged willful violations of safety standards at a residential construction site in Suffern, N.Y. The masonry contractor faces a total of $48,000 in proposed fines. The citations and fines follow an OSHA inspection initiated in April after an agency inspector passing by the worksite observed employees working in plain view without fall protection.

Specifically, OSHA's inspection found that Damap employees were exposed to falls of more than 51 feet while installing plywood grout stops at the perimeters of the building's roof. They also were exposed to impalement hazards from unguarded reinforcing steel rebar beside where they were working, the agency said. OSHA cited Damap in 2005 for similar hazards at a Yonkers, N.Y., jobsite.

"There is no way to understate the danger of fall hazards, which are the number one killer in construction work," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown, N.Y. "Whenever employees work without adequate and effective fall protection, they are just one misstep away from death or disabling injury. What's particularly disturbing in this case is that this employer knew these safeguards were required yet did not ensure they were in place and in use."

As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued two willful citations to the company. Damap has elected to contest its citations and fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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