Saturday, May 20, 2006

NY Contractor Indicted For Worker's Fatal Fall

Chalk up yet another example to disprove Senator Enzi's theory that "The notion that employers care little about worker safety, or are prepared to sacrifice worker health in the pursuit of profit is a dangerous myth."

Tariq Alamgir and Nasir Bhatti, owners of Metla Contracting and Roofing, Inc., were indicted in federal court last week for failing to provide fall protection which led to the death of Mohamadou Jabbie,an immigrant worker who fell 60 feet from a scaffold in Bushwick, NY last June. What caused Jabbie's death took a little while to discover:
A co-worker initially told an OSHA investigator that Jabbie had been wearing a safety harness, but took it off just before the accident. Later, the co-worker admitted that wasn't true, and said that no one from Metla ever told them that safety equipment was required.

The co-worker also disclosed that when Alamgir arrived at the scene of the accident, he told the worker "to tell investigators that harnesses had been on site prior to the collapse," according to court papers.

Alamgir made the same claim to OSHA investigators when he was interviewed, and is additionally charged with making false statements
If convicted, the contractors each face up to six months in jail and $10,000 fines. OSHA has already fined the company $126,00, including a $70,000 willful citaion.

Under federal safety rules, workers potentially exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more must have some type of protection, such as guard rails, safety nets or harnesses.

So maybe if Alamgir ansd Bhatti had only known about these OSHA standards and taken advantage of compliance assistance offered by OSHA, they would have acted responsibly and done the right thing.

Think again:
Metla Construction, Inc.,...had been slapped with 20 safety violations in 2004-2005 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to provide workers with fall protection at two work sites, but never settled the violations and ignored the penalties.
I'd say I was shocked and surprised if this was something that didn't happen almost every day.
Jail sounds just about right to me.