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09-998-NEW/BOS 2009-264
Thurs., Aug. 27, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

Long Island, N.Y., contractor faces $72,000 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines for fall hazards at New York City jobsite

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $72,000 in fines against Sorbara Construction, a Lynnbrook, N.Y., concrete contractor, for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards after a worker fell at a New York City worksite.

On March 20, a worker fell 10 feet from the 34th to the 33rd floor of a building under construction at 505 West 37th St. after dislodging the unsecured cover of a floor hole. OSHA's inspection identified several fall-related hazards including inadequate fall protection, unsecured and unmarked floor hole covers, a personal fall arrest system rigged so a worker could fall more than six feet, and failure to retrain workers to ensure they recognize such hazards. OSHA also found an ungrounded power tool, uncovered electrical outlet and discharged fire extinguishers.

"While it's fortunate that this worker was not killed, falls remain the number one killer in construction work," said Kay Gee, OSHA's acting area director in Manhattan. "One wrong step can end a worker's career or life. We want to emphasize to all contractors the importance of supplying effective fall protection safeguards and training to their workers."

OSHA has issued Sorbara Construction three repeat citations, with $62,500 in proposed fines, for the lack of fall protection and training and the ungrounded power tool, as the contractor had been cited by OSHA in November 2008 for similar hazards at a worksite at 333 East 91st St. in Manhattan.

Sorbara Construction also has been issued four serious citations, with $9,500 in fines, for the remaining hazards. Serious citations