Vidal Sanchez fell to his death at a Brooklyn work site on April 1, 2015. In the eyes of health and safety officials, it should not have happened.
The 51-year-old laborer, who worked for Brooklyn-based J&M Metro General Contracting Corp., fell while raking freshly poured concrete at the unprotected 6th floor edge of a building under construction at 360 Neptune Ave. in Brighton Beach.
An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Sanchez and his co-workers were not provided required fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lifelines, and their employer had not trained them on how to minimize fall hazards. As a result of its findings, OSHA cited J&M Metro General Contracting on Sept. 30 for one willful violation for the lack of fall protection and five serious violations for the other hazards.
“Mr. Sanchez’s death could have been prevented by J&M Metro General Contracting,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. “This employer knew fall protection was required, but did not supply lifesaving equipment that would have prevented this fall.”
OSHA’s inspection identified other fall-related hazards, including missing stairway guardrails, a defective extension ladder, unprotected floor holes and construction debris in stairways and work areas.
“Too many construction workers die needlessly in falls each year. This includes nine such employees in New York City this year,” added Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “We remind employers that these are people, not numbers. Employers must use appropriate and effective required fall protection measures at all times.”
J&M Metro General Contracting faces $84,600 in proposed fines.
The company was given 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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