Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction, a fact sadly illustrated by the death of a 21-year-old laborer, who fell nearly 50 feet as he installed a supported tubular welded frame scaffold during construction of a seven-story Brooklyn building.
A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation of the Nov. 13, 2020, incident determined Everest Scaffolding Inc. of the Bronx failed to ensure the laborer’s fall arrest harness was attached, as required.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if Everest Scaffolding had provided appropriate training on fall hazards and ensured workers were using fall protection correctly,” said OSHA Area Director Kay Gee in Manhattan.
OSHA proposed $300,370 in penalties for two willful and two serious safety violations. The agency found the company:
- Failed to evaluate the feasibility of using fall protection and failed to use feasible fall protection during the erection of a supported scaffold.
- Did not properly train employees on fall hazards associated with scaffold work.
- Failed to inspect fall arrest systems before use.
- Did not determine if the anchorage for employees’ personal fall arrest systems could support at least 5,000 pounds.
The company has contested OSHA’s findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.