Worker's 80-Foot Fall Leads to Contractor's $74,500 Fine

A Manhattan-based masonry contractor was cited following a Sept. 28, 2011, incident in which an employee fell 80 feet to a lower level from the top of a 118-foot-high scaffold.

OSHA has cited Navillus Contracting Tile Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards at a work site in Brooklyn. The Manhattan-based masonry contractor was cited following a Sept. 28, 2011, incident in which an employee fell 80 feet to a lower level from the top of a 118-foot-high scaffold. Proposed penalties total $74,500.

"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 found 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. These conditions resulted in citations for six serious violations, with $36,000 in proposed fines.

One repeat violation with a proposed fine of $38,500 involves a lack of guardrails. OSHA cited Navillus in September 2008 for a similar hazard at a Bronx work site.

"To prevent hazards such as these, employers should implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work continuously with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

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