OSHA reaches settlement over telehandler fatality

News Story
- 6 Jun 2024 ( #1182 ) - Linden, NJ, United States
2 min read

The United States' Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reached a settlement with a New Jersey contractor over a fatal fall in October 2023 at a multi-storey construction site.  

The 39-year-old worker fell from the fifth floor after stepping onto an elevated platform to unload materials.

OSHA inspectors found Granite and Marble Services did not secure the work platform fully to prevent it from tipping or from being dislodged from a telehandler's forks.

Granite and Marble Services also failed to provide legally required fall protection and used the work platform without the prior written approval from the telehandler's manufacturer. The agency cited the contractor with four serious violations.

After receiving its citations in April, the company requested an informal conference with OSHA's area director and reached the settlement agreement with the agency. 

The agreement affirms Granite and Marble Services' four serious violations and requires the company to pay a USD13,500 penalty, implement further enhanced abatement measures and develop a safety program and fall protection plan.

“While this settlement cannot reverse the preventable loss of life, it goes a long way to ensure that Granite and Marble Services will abate hazards and implement safety measures to stop another tragedy,” says OSHA area director Joseph Czapik in Parsippany, New Jersey. 

“Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, which is why industry employers must protect their workers from clearly deadly hazards to ensure a safe workplace.”

As part of its fatality investigation, OSHA also initiated an inspection of ARC NJ, operating as ARC Building Partners, the general contractor at the Bayonne construction site. 

OSHA cited the company for two serious violations for its failures to ensure a platform was secured to a forklift and for not getting the manufacturer's written approval before attaching a working platform to a telehandler. 

Proposed penalties total USD22,584. The company has submitted a notice of contest to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,069 construction workers died on the job in the United States, including 395 related to falls from elevation.

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