Brooklyn Laborer Falls to His Death

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 21-Oct-2015

On April 1, 2015, V. Sanchez was working at a Brooklyn construction site when he fell to his death. His fall was entirely preventable.

The 51-year-old laborer was working for Brooklyn-based J&M Metro General Contracting Corp. raking freshly poured concreate at the unprotected edge of a building under construction on the 6th floor before the fatal fall.

Upon inspection, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that Sanchez’s employer had not provided him and his co-workers the required fall protection equipment, such as lifelines and safety harnesses. Additionally, J&M failed to train the men on minimizing fall hazards.

As a result of OSHA’s investigation, on Sep. 30, OSHA cited J&M Metro General Contracting for willfully violating the lack of fall protection, and for five serious violations involving other hazards.

Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens said that Mr. Sanchez’s death could have been prevented by his employer. Gee said that J&M knew that it was required to use fall protection, but failed to supply the lifesaving equipment that would have prevented Sanchez’s fall.

OSHA’s inspection identified a series of fall-related hazards at the construction site at 360 Neptune Ave. in Brighton Beach, including:

  • Missing stairway guardrails,
  • A defective extension ladder,
  • Unprotected floor holes, and
  • Construction debris located along stairways and work areas.

Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York said that too many workers die needlessly in falls every year, including nine employees in New York City in 2015. Kulick said that we have to remind employers that these are people, not numbers. Employers must use appropriate and effective fall protection measures at all times, he added.

J&M Metro General Contracting could have to pay up to $84,600 in fines; the company has up to 15 days from receiving the citations to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest OSHA’s findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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