OSHA Cites Brooklyn Contractor for Electrocution Fall Hazards

OSHA has proposed $50,600 in fines against Metro Steel Fabricators Inc., a Brooklyn steel erection contractor, for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a Tuckahoe, N.Y., jobsite.

OSHA's inspection found that workers at the 30 Elm St. worksite were exposed to electrocution hazards while working within 10 feet of energized high-voltage power and service lines, while workers who were connecting steel beams without fall protection were exposed to falls of three stories.

"Falls and electrocutions are among the leading causes of death in construction work," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown, N.Y. "Electricity can kill or injure instantly, while a momentary slip, trip, or loss of balance can lead to a fatal or disabling plunge. There is no good reason for an employer's failure to provide these basic, commonsense, and legally required safeguards at each and every jobsite."

The inspection also found that Metro Steel Fabricators was erecting steel without first receiving written verification that concrete footings were of sufficient strength to support the loads; a roadway workzone was improperly set up and lacked warning signs to tell motorists of a flagger and a crane in the roadway; and additional fall hazards stemmed from lack of perimeter safety cables and use of an incomplete stairway for access.

OSHA has issued Metro Steel Fabricators one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $35,000, for the electrocution hazard and seven serious citations, with $15,600 in fines, for the remaining items. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard of employee safety and health. Serious citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"One means of preventing hazardous conditions is to establish an effective safety and health management system through which employers and employees work together to proactively evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

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