OSHA fines New Jersey roofing contractor $201K for exposing employees to willful safety hazards at Mahwah, Elmwood Park worksites
TRENTON, NJ – Employers are required by law to correct hazardous conditions at their workplaces, but a Trenton-based contractor failed to comply with this requirement when one of its employees suffered serious injuries after the roof beneath him collapsed.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Osman “Alex” Inestrosa – who operates using the name Lifetime Contractor Corp. – and proposed penalties totaling $201,090 after two OSHA investigations in the fall of 2020.
OSHA initiated an inspection in September 2020 in response to a complaint and found Inestrosa allowed a worker to make roof repairs without proper safety protections at a multi-family residential complex in Mahwah. The agency cited Inestrosa with four willful violations that included exposing workers to tripping and fire hazards, failing to ensure workers wore hard hats and exposing workers to eye injuries. OSHA proposed penalties of $109,224.
One month later, OSHA initiated a second inspection at an Elmwood Park apartment complex when the roof of a multi-car garage collapsed causing serious injuries to a roofing worker employed by Inestrosa. Once again, inspectors found Inestrosa failed to provide fall protection, hardhats and eye protection, and permitted use of the wrong ladders. The agency cited the contractor for three willful and three serious violations, and proposed $91,866 in penalties.
“Falls continue to be the leading cause of serious injuries and death in the construction industry and yet, fall protection citations are among the most common we record each year,” said OSHA Area Director Lisa Levy in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “On multiple occasions this employer knowingly disregarded well-known safety protocols, and we will hold him accountable for failing to meet his legal obligation.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To address situations like these, OSHA and several other government agencies are sponsoring the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 3-7, 2021. OSHA is asking construction companies to stand down and take a few minutes to address the most hazardous conditions at worksites. Companies can take a break to talk about how to prevent falls, ensure all employees know how to protect themselves when working 10 feet or more off the ground or participate in some other safety activity. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.