Brooklyn Contractor Busted in Fatal Structural Collapse

The contractor was erecting a multistory building on Nov. 8, 2011, when the front bays of the third, fourth, and fifth floors collapsed as concrete was poured onto the fourth and third floors.

OSHA has cited SP&K Construction, a Brooklyn contractor, for alleged safety violations in connection with a fatal structural collapse in Brighton Beach, N.Y. The contractor was erecting a multistory building on Nov. 8, 2011, when the front bays of the third, fourth, and fifth floors collapsed as concrete was poured onto the fourth and third floors. The citations carry $77,880 in proposed penalties.

"This employer clearly knew the steel erection was incorrect and unstable, which led to the death of one worker and the hospitalization of four others," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. "Had proper procedures and safeguards been followed, this fatal collapse could have been prevented."

An inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office found that the structural stability of the floors was not maintained during the steel erection process and the exterior wall framing was not constructed to maintain structural stability during the erection process. Among other deficiencies, the structural frame was inadequately braced and secured and was laterally unstable, the exterior walls were not plumbed and properly aligned, exterior stud walls were not properly connected to header members, all metal c-joists were not secured as required, and nails were used in place of screws to secure steel decking to c-joists in some locations.

The engineer overseeing the construction, who was not at the worksite at the time of the collapse, said the procedures “were not even vaguely correct” and he would not have approved them if he were there, reported New York Daily News writer Erin Durkin.

Additionally, fall protection training was not provided to employees working on the scaffolds and on the unprotected edges of the third, fourth, and fifth floors, exposing them to falls of 10-40 feet. The scaffold had not been properly braced and had not been inspected for defects by a competent person with the knowledge to identify and authority to correct hazards.

SP&K received a citation for a willful violation involving the lack of structural stability; citations for eight serious violations involving the lack of fall protection, training, and competent person inspections; and citations for two other-than-serious violations involving an incomplete injury and illness log.

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