A contractor in New Jersey will pay $13,500 in OSHA fines after one of its workers fell to their death on a job site, according to Guy Burdick of EHS Daily Advisor.

Granite & Marble Services LLC of Linden, New Jersey, was cited for four safety violations and requested to meet with OSHA’s area director. A settlement was agreed on at the meeting, and Granite & Marble Services will agree to the violations and pay the fines, as well as develop a safety program and fall protection plan.

The police department in Bayonne, New Jersey, reported in October that a construction employee passed away while working on a residential building, which started OSHA’s investigation.

OSHA found that the accident happened when the employee stepped onto an elevated platform to unload materials from a telehandler, but the platform was not fully secured, causing it to give way. OSHA also said that Granite & Marble Services did not provide fall protection measures or receive the telehandler manufacturer’s approval to use the platform.

“While this settlement cannot reverse the preventable loss of life, it goes a long way to ensure that Granite & Marble Services LLC will abate hazards and implement safety measures to stop another tragedy,” said Joseph Czapik, office director for OSHA’s Parsippany, New Jersey, area. “Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, which is why industry employers must protect their workers from clearly deadly hazards to ensure a safe workplace.”

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,069 construction worker deaths on the job, including 395 related to falls from elevation. Fall hazards are one of the construction industry’s “Fatal Four” safety hazards, along with caught-in or -between, electrocution and struck-by hazards. OSHA announced last fall that its construction industry fall protection standard has been its most frequently cited standard for 13 straight years. OSHA cited 7,271 violations in fiscal year 2023.

As part of the fatality investigation, OSHA also initiated an inspection of ARC NJ LLC, operating as ARC Building Partners LLC, the general contractor at the Bayonne construction site. OSHA cited the company for two violations – failing to ensure the platform was secured to the forklift and not getting the manufacturer’s written approval before attaching the working platform to the telehandler. OSHA proposed penalties totaling $22,584, but ARC NJ has submitted a notice of contest to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The review commission and its administrative law judges hear employers’ challenges of OSHA citations and penalties. Attorneys from the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor represent OSHA in review commission proceedings.

The solicitor’s office also represents OSHA and other DOL officials in federal court proceedings. For example, the solicitor’s office recently moved to seize an employer’s property to collect unpaid OSHA fines for a series of fall protection violations. The employer paid $365,576 in fines and interest.