OSHA fines Long Island contractor $1.2M

ConDig (1-Mar-22).  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a Long Island contractor $1.2 million after a worker fell to his death last August. 

The agency said that an employee of DME Construction Associates Inc. died after falling 18 feet through an unprotected skylight at a Town of Oyster Bay municipal building.

OSHA found that, in addition to the unprotected skylight, the employer exposed workers to falls of up to 22 feet from other unguarded roof openings and roof edges, and failed to provide employees with any personal fall protection equipment.

The company was slapped with nine willful violations including eight egregious per-instance citations for failure to provide fall protection for each of the eight employees who worked on the roof. The agency also cited DME for four serious violations for other fall hazards, and for violations related to the crane in use on-site.

Before the fatal fall, OSHA noted that it had cited DME seven times since 2011 for fall-related hazards, including not providing protection from falls through skylights and from roof edges, with more than $50,000 in unpaid fines.

“DME Construction Associates Inc. has continually ignored its legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace and that failure cost a worker their life,” said OSHA regional administrator Richard Mendelson in New York. 

“Ensuring worker safety is not an option. The U.S. Department of Labor will hold employers accountable when they knowingly disregard the law requiring the use of personal protective equipment.”

DME Construction Associates Inc. 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.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1,061 construction workers died on the job in 2019, 401 of them in falls from elevation. In fiscal year 2020, fall protection in construction was the standard most frequently cited by OSHA inspectors.