- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two Queens, NY, contractors for exposing workers to fall, electrical and fire and hazards on a Manhattan job site. The agency fined the two companies a total of $117,170.
- Building contractor W&L Group Construction faces eight repeat and six serious violations, with a proposed fine of $93,170. Steel erection contractor Top Master Industries Inc./H&J Iron Works faces 10 serious violations and $24,000 in fines.
- OSHA said it had previously cited W&L Construction for similar hazards on job sites over the past four years.
Kay Gee, OSHA's area director, pointed out that the violations involved two of the Fatal Four leading causes of death on job sites: falls and electrocution. Fall protection hazards continue to be one of OSHA's main focuses, as falls always top the agency's list of the most common violations and accounted for 359 out of 899 total construction deaths in 2014.
The citations and fines come a week after a Politico report found the New York City Department of Buildings has increased the number of stop-work orders issued amid an uptick in safety incidents on city construction sites. New York City has seen 16 construction-related deaths in the last year, including a a pedestrian killed in a February crane collapse, according to The Real Deal.
Today marks the start of OSHA's 78% fine increase, in compliance with a federally mandated rate increase to bring its penalty amounts in line with the Consumer Price Index — representing the first increase since 1990. The agency will raise its maximum penalty for serious violations from $7,000 to $12,471 and will increase the fine for willful and repeated violations from $70,000 to $124,709.
The higher fines are in effect for infractions occurring after Nov. 2, 2015. The construction industry will see a major impact as the result of this penalty increase, as construction fatalities accounted for 20.6% of all total private industry fatalities last year, according to the BLS.