CRANE COLLAPSES AT PASSAIC RIVER-ROUTE 531 BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT, THIRD SUCH ACCIDENT FOR ALPHA, NEW JERSEY CONSTRUCTION FIRM; OSHA ALLEGES REPEAT VIOLATIONS, PROPOSES $139,600 IN PENALTIES
The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 78 Construction Corporation, of 7 Edge Road, Alpha, New Jersey, and proposed penalties of $139,600 against the firm for two alleged repeat violations and eight alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until February 1 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director David J. Ippolito, the action results from an investigation following an accident at a site on Route 531 in Gillette, New Jersey, where the contractor was constructing a replacement bridge over the Passaic River. A crane operator and another worker were injured when an overloaded crane cable broke, dropping its boom.
The firm was cited for two repeat violations, carrying a total proposed penalty of $120,000, for failure to inspect the crane, and failure to follow the crane manufacturer’s load capacity restrictions. A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The company was previously cited for the same violations following two previous crane accidents. The first crane failure occurred on Edwards Road in Parsippany in August, 1995, the second on Route 94 North in Hardyston in February, 1997.
“Employers who repeatedly expose their workers to known hazards can expect that they will receive the strongest penalties allowed by law–as well they should,” Ippolito said.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
- failure to post crane load capacity chart and crane hand signal chart;
- failure to provide fall protection and fall protection training;
- failure to properly set the height of guardrails, to provide mid-rails, and to provide railings that would support the required 200-pound minimum;
- failure to have a hazard communication program, including employee training and material safety data sheets covering the hazardous substances in the workplace;
- failure to conduct overall site-specific safety training;
- failure to provide protective gloves;
- failure to store liquefied petroleum gas cylinders upright, and separately from oxygen cylinders.
A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $19,600.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA’s Parsippany area office, located at 299 Cherry Hill Road, suite 304, Parsippany, New Jersey, telephone (973) 263-1003.
Category: Accident Report