STATEN ISLAND — A Staten Island contractor was fined $136,290 for seven safety violations at a Jersey City construction site after a worker fell off a sixth floor balcony, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced.
Blade Contracting Inc., a New Brighton masonry company, was fined for using makeshift devices to increase the height of scaffolds and failing to protect workers from falls at the work site on 837 Jersey Ave., OSHA said in a statement.
The investigation started after a Blade worker fell off a sixth floor balcony and was injured while attempting to manoeuvre a scaffold.
OSHA classified the makeshift heightening of the scaffolding as a willful violation, which they described as a one "committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health," the statement said.
The violations followed two former charges for failing to protect workers on scaffolds and a sixth floor balcony, which the company was cited for in 2007 and 2010.
Blade was also issued four serious violations, which OSHA issues when a hazard could result in a serious chance of death or injury, OSHA said.
"Fall hazards are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and therefore it is critical that employers provide workers with proper fall protection," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office in a statement.
"Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so."
More than 10,000 workers were injured in the U.S. from falls when working from heights in 2010 and more than 25 were killed, OSHA said.
Blade has 15 business days from receiving the violations to pay the fines, request a conference with the area director, or fight the citations and penalties before the OSHA Review Commission.