Scaffold, Fall Protection Fines Upheld for Contractor: OSHA

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By Sam Pearson

July 7 — A New York contractor is liable for nearly $250,000 in fines for allegedly failing to protect workers from scaffolding falls, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled ( Sec'y of Labor v. Flintlock Constr. Servs. LLC, OSHRC, No. 12-2181, decision 5/20/16 ) .

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced July 6 that the review commission upheld $249,920 in penalties against Flintlock Construction Services LLC of Mamaroneck, N.Y., in a May 20 decision. Flintlock has since petitioned the commission for discretionary review.

OSHA alleged an inspection in March 2013 found workers constructing a 23-story Fairfield Inn & Suites in Manhattan were not protected from potentially fatal scaffolding falls of up to 26 feet as required under OSHA's scaffold standard. The hotel, for which Flintlock served as the general contractor, is part of the Marriott International Inc. chain.

OSHA proposed the fines Sept. 24, 2013.

At the time, OSHA also fined Flintlock an additional $16,720 for other safety issues. The agency also proposed $22,800 in fines for four subcontractors.

“This was a clear case of an employer knowingly placing its employees at risk of deadly or disabling injuries caused by the number one killer in construction work—falls,” OSHA Region 2 Administrator Robert Kulick said in a statement July 6.

Challenging the violations, Flintlock argued some of the violations were not willful because its employees did not know about the hazards and had tried to comply with safety rules.

Chief Administrative Law Judge Covette Rooney rejected the company's arguments after a two-day hearing in July 2015. Rooney wrote the proposed penalties “are appropriate and are assessed.”

The company is an open-shop contractor and says on its website its “combination of innovative open shop construction capabilities and leveraging highly skilled tradesmen not subject to collective bargaining agreements, enables Flintlock to complete projects at 20 to 30 percent lower cost than closed shop construction companies, while maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety.”

Company representatives did not return a request for comment July 7.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Pearson at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at

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