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OSHA Fines 4 NY Housing Contractors

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Fall hazards, electrical problems and other safety violations on an affordable-housing project in New York may cost a general contractor and three of its subs thousands of dollars in fines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited SNE-MPCC-Mengler J.V. LLC, of Brewster, and a masonry, plumbing and HVAC subcontractor after a programmed inspection at a precast-concrete building site in Yonkers.

Initial penalties totaled $115,230. An OSHA spokesman said the contractors had informally settled their cases, but details were not immediately available.

building inspector
© iStock.com / Stask

OSHA inspectors said workers had been exposed to five-story falls at a housing project in Yonkers, NY. The image does not depict the scene in this case.

The contractors had been working to transform the Cottage Place Gardens into an affordable senior and family housing complex, reports note.

OSHA announced the citations Dec. 4.

'Basic Common Sense'

The largest fines were levied against masonry subcontractor MPCC Corp., of New Rochelle, and the joint venture in charge of the project.

"Falls and electrocution are among the top four causes of injury and death for people in the construction industry," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown.

"These hazards can be readily prevented when employers adhere to basic, common sense and legally required safeguards. Unfortunately, those safeguards were lacking at this job site, placing workers at risk."

Repeat Citations

OSHA cited MPCC Corp. for three repeat and 17 serious violations.

The company is accused of allowing workers to work five stories up without a personal fall arrest system or guardrail. OSHA levied a $10,780 fine for that repeat infraction.

MPCC Corp. also lacked suitable drenching facilities for workers exposed to corrosive liquids (which carried a $6,160 fine) and had no written respiratory protection program ($4,620 penalty).

SUNY
http://mpcccorp.net/index.html

MPCC Corp.'s project portfolio includes a 197,000-square-foot SUNY building in Old Westbury.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited within five years for the same or a similar violation at any other facility in federal enforcement states.

OSHA cited MPCC Corp. in February 2010 and February 2012 for similar violations at work sites in Old Westbury and Purchase.

OSHA records also indicate a November case against MPCC Corp. Two serious scaffolding hazards were cited, carrying $3,500 in penalties. The company informally settled for $2,100, OSHA records show.

Serious Citations

In the present case, MPCC was also hit with 17 serious violations, carrying $70,070 in fines. Those allegations include:

  • Scaffolds not fully planked or properly secured;
  • A lack of safe means of access;
  • Workers not trained to recognize and avoid scaffolding hazards;
  • Unguarded rebar;
  • Worn, ungrounded and misused power cords; and
  • A lack of personal protective equipment.

According to its website, MPCC Corp. performs a broad range of jobs, specializing in commercial and institutional construction. The company has over 10 years of experience in the construction field.

Past projects include a five-story, 197,000-square-foot SUNY academic building in Old Westbury.

Joint Venture Citations

OSHA said general contractor SNE-MPCC-Mengler J.V. failed to:

  • Provide and ensure the use of fall protection for workers on the scaffold;
  • Train employees adequately;
  • Provide adequate respiratory protection; and
  • Clear the work area of debris.

Those conditions resulted in eight serious citations, with $16,000 in fines.

A serious violation reflects substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA records show no past violations by the joint venture.

Subcontractors Fined, Settle

Two other subcontractors on the Yonkers project were also cited.

Mengler Plumbing, of Brewster, was cited for two serious electrical violations, carrying $4,000 in fines.

Temporary wiring
OSHA.gov

Workers may be exposed to shocks and other hazards from improper wiring.

OSHA records were updated to indicate that Mengler Plumbing informally settled with the agency for $2,800. No previous cases exist.

Zodiac Industries Inc., a heating, ventilation and air conditioning subcontractor based in Port Chester, was cited for two serious violations involving lack of eye protection and hazardous electrical equipment.

Zodiac has also part of its initial penalty $3,600 fine for $1,400, OSHA records show.

The records also show that Zodiac was fined last December for a serious wiring method hazard. The initial penalty of $1,800 was reduced to $900 after informal settlement in that case.

   

Tagged categories: Access; Citations; Enforcement; Ethics; Fall protection; Health and safety; Housing; Scaffolding; Worker training

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