Queens contractor fined $374,000 after fatal worker fall

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A federal workplace safety investigation has found a Queens construction contractor failed to provide and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards that would have prevented the death of a worker who fell about 60 feet from a roof on May 27, 2021, during demolition of a Brooklyn building.–label-hidden clearfix”>

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that Richmond Construction Inc. failed to provide and require the use of all required safeguards related to fall protection.

A worker engaged in demolishing a building at 1045 Flatbush Ave. fell from the roof to the building’s interior. Investigators also determined that the company failed to train its workers to recognize and avoid fall hazards, the OSHA said in a Dec. 3 statement.

OSHA cited Richmond Construction for nine willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards and proposed penalties totaling $374,603. OSHA determined that Richmond Construction failed to:

  • Provide employees with effective fall protection and fall protection training.
  • Have a competent person inspect the roof, lifeline systems and fall arrest harnesses before the employees started work. A competent person has the knowledge to spot hazards and the authority to correct them.
  • Have a qualified person supervise the design, installation and use of the horizontal lifeline.
  • Ensure the lifeline system was capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds.
  • Ensure employees did not connect their fall protection lanyards to anchor points below their harness rings.
  • Provide eye and ear protection to employees operating jackhammers.

“Richmond Construction Inc. ignored its legal responsibility to protect workers from falls and the result was the loss of a worker’s life,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in New York City. “Complying with OSHA standards is not optional. It is required to ensure workers return home unharmed at the end of the day.”

Richmond Construction has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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