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A Manhattan-based masonry contractor faces citations and fines totaling $74,500 after an investigation into a construction worker’s 80-foot fall from a scaffold.

Inspectors from the Manhattan Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) visited the worksite at 2738 86th St. in Brooklyn after a worker who was working on a 118-foot high scaffold fell 80 feet to a lower level.

“This employee is fortunate to have escaped death, but what is unfortunate is that this fall occurred in the first place,” said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens in a release. “It is effective scaffold maintenance, work practices and fall protection – not luck – that are essential to protecting workers against life-threatening falls.”

The agency cited Navillus Contracting Tile Inc. for six serious violations, serious meaning there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. OSHA proposed $36,000 in fines for these serious violations:

  • The scaffold platform was not fully planked and lacked guardrails.
  • An aluminum access platform was not secured against displacement.
  • Another worker was not tied off to a safe anchorage point.
  • Employees accessed work areas by climbing up and down the scaffold frames.

OSHA has cited Navillus for lack of guardrails on scaffolding in the past and proposed $38,500 in fines for this repeat violation.

In 2009, 54 workers died after falling from scaffolds. OSHA has developed standards for scaffolding use.

"To prevent hazards such as these, employers should implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work continuously with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Navillus has 15 days to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the violations.

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