The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently fined two construction companies in one of the New York boroughs for endangering workers.
How were the issues discovered? A local branch of OSHA, the Manhattan Area Office, was called to conduct the investigations. During the investigation, the agency found a number of violations. Eight of these violations were repeat offenses and six were deemed serious violations.
Agency officials note that these violations were of concern because they involved "two of the four leading causes of death in construction work - falls and electric shock."
What were the issues? During the investigation, the agency found that the contractors were guilty of multiple violations, including:
- Fall protection violations. Construction companies are required to take steps to reduce the risk of injuries related to falls within their job sites. In addition to providing actual, physical protection like guardrails the companies must also provide training to employees on how to protect themselves from these dangers. These contractors failed to take both precautions.
- Fire protection. These companies are also required to reduce the risk of injuries connected to fires. Fires can occur on construction sites for a number of reasons, including explosions. These companies failed to properly separate oxygen containers from fuel cylinders and other combustible materials. This violation could have led to a catastrophic accident.
- Protection from electricity. Electricity is important to every construction site. Construction workers need access to electricity in order to use many of their tools. However, when not used properly, electricity can be very dangerous. One of OSHA's requirements involves keeping live parts of electrical equipment separate from workers to reduce the risk of electrocution. Often, this means having it enclosed live parts within a cabinet. These companies failed to take this precaution.
These were just three broad explanations of the many issues the companies were found to violate.
What were the repercussions? The companies received hefty fines for these violations. According to a News Release by OSHA, these fines total $117,170.
One of the companies has already come into compliance, the other has thirty days to pay the fine and confirm that the company's practices are now in compliance with regulations.
What can New York construction workers learn from this? Construction workers are in one of the most dangerous jobs. Regulations are present that are intended to reduce the risk of injuries, but these regulations are not always followed.
Those who are injured in a job related accident are likely eligible for compensation to help cover the costs associated with the accident. This can include medical expenses and lost wages. Contact an experienced construction accident lawyer to review your case and discuss your options.