NY contractor faces OSHA penalty for fatal fall violations

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Federal and local regulations are present to help reduce the risk of injuries. Failure to follow these regulations can lead to steep penalties.

A roofing contractor out of New York is facing $73,920 in penalties for exposing workers to a risk of potentially fatal falls. The penalties were proposed after the contractor failed an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA.

More on the investigation

The investigation began when OSHA employees drove past a worksite and noticed that workers were completing work on a roof without proper fall protection. Upon inspection, it was discovered that workers were at a risk of falling from heights over 23 feet. Additional risks were present due to a lack of proper training on scaffold safety, ladder safety and fall protection practices. These failures to follow OSHA regulations along with past violations led to the proposed penalty.

Fall protection and construction sites

OSHA requires employers to provide fall protection whenever walking or working on a surface that has an unprotected side or edge that is six feet or more above a lower level. A variety of options are available to meet this requirement, including guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems.

These protections are extended to cover the risks associated with falls in various situations including falling through holes, ramps and excavations. Similar regulations are also in place for roofing work completed on "low-slope" roofs. Work on "steep roofs" requires workers be protected with guardrail systems with toeboards, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems. Additional protections are provided by New York's Department of Labor. This agency requires roofing brackets, crawling boards or approved safety belts when the slope of the roof is greater than one in four inches.

Remedies available for victims

Workers who suffer injury from a fall may be eligible to receive compensation to help cover the costs associated with the accident. This can include medical bills and rehabilitation costs as well as lost wages. Although workers are often covered by workers' compensation benefits, depending on the details of the accident an additional personal injury lawsuit may be available. Circumstances that generally support an additional lawsuit include:

  • Third party involvement. An additional suit may be supported if the injury was caused in part by a third party, or someone other than the employer.
  • Faulty equipment. Accidents that resulted from a defective or faulty product or piece of equipment may also qualify.
  • Egregious conduct. In some cases additional compensation may be available if the injury was connected to an employer's gross neglect or an intentional act.

Navigating through these claims can be a complex process. As a result, it is wise for those who are injured in a construction accident to contact an experienced construction accident attorney in New York. This legal professional will advocate for your rights, working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: construction accidents