OSHA Fines Queens Construction Companies for Fatal Wall Collapse

After a detailed investigation of a deadly Queens construction accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited three local construction contractors for their role in a building collapse. H Rock Corp., Vera Construction Inc. and Sing Da Corp were fined a combined total of roughly $120,000 for jobsite violations that caused the death of a 26-year-old construction worker and the hospitalization of three other men.

The three Queens construction contractors were jointly constructing a 20-foot wall when it collapsed, sending waves of heavy cinderblocks tumbling toward the ground. Two men - including the deceased - were on scaffolding when the fatal accident occurred. The three men who survived the wall collapse were fortunate enough to "ride" the cement blocks down to the ground and avoid fatal crush injuries.

The Queens accident is another horrific example of the consequences of workplace safety violations. Construction workers make their living in the second-most deadly industry in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Decades of carefully crafted construction regulations have evolved into a comprehensive regulatory scheme designed to prevent death and injuries such as those resulting from the Queens wall collapse. The specific violations for the Queens construction companies are as follows:

  • Sing Da Corp. was fined a total of $63,000 for a willful violation in failing to properly brace the block wall and for violating scaffold-safety laws.
  • H Rock Corp was fined $38,000 in serious violations for failing to adequately brace the wall scaffolding, unguarded floor holes, failing to use hardhats in a heavy construction area, and failing to implement a safety program.
  • Vera Construction Inc. was cited about $22,000 for having unguarded floor holes, failing to use caps on reinforcing steel, failing to wear hardhats, failing to have appropriate hazard communication and failing to implement a safety program.

Unfortunately, construction safety violations are commonplace. Many construction companies make blatant business decisions to forego compliance with safety standards in order save time and money. Other businesses simply refuse to put a high priority on worker safety; they do not make efforts to establish safety programs and provide adequate safety supervision at the jobsite. Sadly, these poor decisions often result in serious worker injury or death.

Source: ehstoday.com, "Worker fatality results in OSHA citations, fines for three NY contractors" June 16, 2011.

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