OSHA fines four at Jersey City construction site

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Jun 27, 2012

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday cited four New Jersey contractors for exposing workers to hazards following a December 2011 inspection.

OSHA says during the inspection, inspectors observed employees working on the fourth floor without personal fall protection or fall protection systems.

Altura Concrete Inc. and Nathil Corp., both of Hasbrouck Heights, and White Diamonds Properties LLC and Blade Contracting Inc., both of Jersey City, face total proposed fines of $463,350.

Altura and Nathil, the concrete contractors for the foundation and superstructure of the building, directed 75 employees on-site. Both companies have been cited for five willful violations for failing to protect workers from fall hazards created by open sides and edges, as well as protect workers from fall hazards created by the misuse of self-supporting stepladders.

"Year after year, falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, accounting for almost one in every three construction worker deaths," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said.

"We know how to prevent falls, and employers have a clear responsibility to provide the right equipment and procedures. When working at heights, everyone needs to plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment and train workers to use the equipment safely. OSHA's message is simple: Safety pays and falls cost."

According to the OSHA communique, the companies also received citations for nine serious violations. Among them were failing to provide personal protective equipment, provide a cap for anacetylene tank in storage, store cylinders in an upright position, separate oxygen and acetylene tanks, and provide fall protection for workers installing ribs, provide protection from protruding rebar, maintain shoring/reshoring plans on-site, provide railings on stairs.

"A project of this magnitude clearly needs an aggressive injury and illness prevention plan in place to prevent falls and other hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "When management and workers together proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions, workers are better protected."

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