Contractor Cited for Repeat Fall Hazards Following Worker's Fatal Plummet

OSHA cited Steelplex Corp. for alleged workplace safety and health violations found at a worksite in Clifton, N.J. Penalties proposed total $78,400. The agency initiated its investigation March 18 following a fatal workplace incident that occurred when a worker fell approximately 30 feet from the top of a steel structure. As a result of the investigation, the company has been cited with one repeat citation with a penalty of $70,000, and three serious citations, with a $8,400 penalty.

The repeat citation contains one repeat violation of employees exposed to fall hazards while engaged in steel erection activities. OSHA issues a repeat violation when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order issued to the same employer within the previous three years.

"This company was previously cited for workplace hazards and did not take the necessary steps to be in compliance, resulting in this avoidable tragedy," said Lisa Levy, area director of OSHA's office in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. "By establishing and maintaining effective safety and health management systems, future accidents can be prevented."

The serious citations contain three serious violations including a hand-operated power tool missing the guard; an employee exposed to an electrocution hazard while using a power tool and extension cord; and an employee exposed to an electrocution hazard while using a damaged extension cord. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Steelplex is a steel erection contractor that employs 12 employees. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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