Construction is one of the most dangerous lines of business. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts numerous restrictions in place to protect workers, sometimes that is not enough. Some employers ignore the safety regulations. In other situations, there are simply more dangers than can be accounted for in a list of rules. Scaffolding, ladders and beams fall, and without intentional and appropriate safety measures, anyone working on them can get hurt.
Earlier this week, two construction workers in the Upper West Side of New York fell to their death when OSHA regulations were ignored. The men were working on the seventh floor of a building when the beam on which they were standing fell, and the men fell to the second floor. According to the New York Post, the two men were not wearing safety harnesses. In addition to harnesses, OSHA also requires safety nets be used when individuals are working at elevated heights. These safety regulations were ignored.
Since construction on the building began in late 2009, there have been other safety violations as well. As recently as Sunday, a building inspector issued a violation because there was loose aluminum and tarps on the roof of the building. Last June there were complaints because the workers were storing scaffolding on the building’s roof.
Because of the safety violations and expired building permits, construction was stopped at that point for about a month. Unfortunately, the recent deaths make it apparent that safety regulations are still not taken seriously.
Under New York State Labor Law section 240, which was enacted to protect construction workers from accident just like this one, responsibility for safety devices is placed on the owner and the general contractor because they have the power to insure that proper safety devices and on the site and used by all workers.
Check back later to read more about the safety standards that were violated and the investigations underway by the Department of Buildings.
Source: New York Post, “Two construction workers die after fall on Upper West Side,” Jamie Schram and Joe Walker, 8 February 2011