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Contractor cited, fined after New York crane collapse injures 2

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a contractor after two employees were seriously injured at a New York City job site last summer.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $155,204 for the St. Louis-based contractor.

In the accident, a mini crane was unsecured, and it overturned, causing it to fall four stories and injure two ironworkers. OSHA said the company had not seen to it that the crane operator had been properly trained and evaluated. The crane also was lifting a load that was too heavy, and the contractor had not verified load size.

"This employer knowingly put workers at risk by failing to ensure that the crane was operated by a competent person," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan-area office director. "Effective training of employees, knowledge of equipment's limits, and correct operation of equipment are critical to preventing injuries."

Last fall, criminal charges, including second-degree assault charges, were filed against two employees of the company for their part in the crane collapse. The prosecutor said the defendants ignored safety protocols to rush the project, adding that company representatives "who fail to follow building regulations and recklessly kill or maim their workers will be criminally prosecuted."

As a result of the incident, the construction company has agreed to hire an independent monitor to ensure safety procedures are followed, increase safety training for employees and pay for announcements in both English and Spanish that will tell New York workers their rights when it comes to a safe workplace.

This workplace accident could have had dire consequences for the two injured workers, and it is encouraging to see the company agree to take these steps toward a safer workplace. Unfortunately, not all employers will take such steps unless forced, and injuries will occur. Anyone hurt on the job has a right to seek compensation for their injuries.

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