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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
News
Sun Valley contractors face fines
Builders refute safety violations
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
The builders of a new housing complex in Valley Stream were cited for allowing workers to operate too close to power lines, according to OSHA.

Three contractors building a new housing complex in Valley Stream have been cited by the federal government for jeopardizing workers’ safety, and could face fines totaling nearly a half-million dollars.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the violations in a June 10 press release. According to the agency, the contractors — Vordonia Contracting and Supplies/Alma Realty Corp. of Long Island City, Masonry Services of Brooklyn and North Eastern Precast of Fultonville, N.Y. — allowed employees to work dangerously close to high-voltage power lines.

The contractors are working on Sun Valley, an apartment and retail complex at the corner of Sunrise Highway and Rockaway Avenue. When it is completed, the building will have stores on the first floor, beneath four stories of apartments.

According to OSHA, workers were doing concrete work and operating cranes near 13,200-volt overhead power lines. The agency stated that contractors ignored several cease-and-desist orders from the Long Island Power Authority.

Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA’s Long Island director, said that the agency’s standards prohibit work near live power lines. “Their workers should never have been placed in harm’s way,” Ciuffo said. “They were fortunate not to be electrocuted.”

In one instance in December, workers were constructing a concrete block wall on the third floor at the northeast corner of the building with live power lines just four inches above their heads, OSHA reported.

The contractors were each issued violations for failing to mark the power lines. Additional violations were issued for failing to train workers on electrocution hazards, not checking to see whether the lines were energized and unsafe crane operating procedures.

Ted Fitzgerald, a spokesman for OSHA, said that an inspection of the site began on Dec. 1, after representatives of the Long Island regional office noticed that employees were vulnerable to potential falls. Fitzgerald said that OSHA frequently checks on active projects for these hazards because falls are the most common cause of on-the-job deaths.

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