Construction Company Held Liable for Employee’s Death

The U.S. Labor Department has found a Watertown contracting company liable for the easily preventable death of a construction worker (employee) at one of its New York work sites.

Kyle Brown, 23, died in November of 2013 from a fall while he was working as part of a crew installing metal decking on the roof of an automobile dealership being built in Pulaski, New York. He was blown off the roof and fell to his death as he tried to secure sheets of decking, said Labor Department officials.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the company for a willful and a serious violation. “This needless fall and resulting death were entirely preventable. Had this company provided its employees with required fall protection equipment, anchorage and training, this young man would be alive today,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s area director in Syracuse. “Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, yet they are also among the clearest hazards to identify and eliminate. Fall protection safeguards save lives, but only if they’re properly and effectively implemented.”

OSHA’s investigation found that while Brown was wearing a fall protection harness, it was useless, as the workers were not provided with a means to connect to an independent anchorage point to stop a fall. The company failed to train employees to recognize fall hazards and ensure adequate anchorage for lifelines nor did they secure the decking against displacement by the wind.

The company, MTL Design, is a general contractor that specializes in site work, concrete work and steel building construction. The company faces $88,900 in proposed fines for its violations and has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In New York State, if you have been injured in a workplace or construction accident, your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance policy is responsible for paying your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. It is often the case that a separate lawsuit can be pursued against one or more third parties responsible for the resultant injuries. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of your accident or injury. What might seem like a straightforward case can quickly become a complicated legal problem. With so much at stake, it’s important that you contact an experienced New York worker’s compensation attorney.

The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.