Investigators found that Noe Diaz-Gamez’ horrific death last April at a warehouse in Glen Cove could have been prevented. According to a release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Elite Roofing Services Inc., the company who contracted Diaz-Gamez, was issued six willful violations for fall hazards — one violation for each exposed worker — and one serious violation for not training the workers. The proposed penalty is $522,527.
Diaz-Gamez, 26, died after falling 20 feet onto the concrete floor of a warehouse at 40 Garvies Point Road while installing metal decking on a flat industrial roof. He was airlifted to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, and later died of his injuries.
OSHA’s investigators learned the company did not provide the employees on the roof with protection against fall hazards, such as guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, positioning devices or fall restraint systems. The work being completed fell under OSHA’s steel erection standard, and Elite Roofing Services Inc. failed to train each employee on recognizing and mitigating fall hazards before conducting the steel erection work.
Accidental deaths like what happened to Diaz-Gamez aren’t uncommon during construction projects. In 2021, nearly one in five workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry. Just over one-third of construction deaths were due to falls, slips, and trips. Of these, almost all were from falls to a lower level. The construction industry accounted for 46.2 percent of all fatal falls, slips, and trips in 2021.
Earlier this year, the Glen Cove City Council voted unanimously to require what’s known as the OSHA 30 training for projects starting at 20,000 square feet, requiring that workers complete a 30-hour OSHA safety training class. Safety requirements will require someone to be assigned to the site, ensuring that each worker has a 30 or 50-hour OSHA safety certificate. The permit applicant, holder, or any person performing work on behalf of the permit holder will need to certify to the director of the city’s building department, Scott Grupp, that the safety requirements have been met for the project and the workers who will work on it. No permit will be issued without a certification from the permit holder.