U.S. cites three contractors for N3rd St. worker death

44n3rdst
Proposed rendering of a residential building at a N. 3rd St. job site where a worker was killed. OSHA says three contractors had “serious” safety violations and failed to protect the workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited three construction companies and proposed they pay a total of more than $220,000 for “serious” construction safety violations that agents found while investigating the death of Cleiton Vespasiano, a 28-year-old construction worker, last November 30, at a non-union construction site in the city’s “N3rd St.” software office and residential district, in the historic Old City neighborhood.

The address, 44 N. 3rd St., was proposed in 2016 by National Realty Investment Advisors LLC, Secaucus, N.J., for nine four-story townhouse buildings. National Realty didn’t immediately respond Thursday to an inquiry seeking comment.

According to an OSHA report, at 2 p.m. that afternoon, the worker “was in the fifth floor pilot house of Unit Number 9, removing debris in preparation for interior stud work. The employee fell through an unguarded floor opening into the elevator shaft,” and dropped 62 feet onto a “concrete slab in the basement, killing him.”

OSHA plans to fine American Diamond Builders Inc. of Philadelphia $143,159 for “one willful and seven serious violations for exposing employees to impalement, struck-by, trip, and fall hazards.” Inspectors found American Diamond had not set up adequate protection for workers above ground level, and had workers dropping debris to the ground without a disposal chute. The firm has not responded to the investigation, according to OSHA.

OSHA also plans to charge U.S. Construction Inc., of Philadelphia, $73,984 for “three repeat and three serious” violations, for failing to properly install guard rails and other protection, and has told AAR Construction Inc. of Delran, N.J., it wants the firm to pay $6,652 for two serious violations “permitting fall hazards.” U.S Construction is contesting the citations. AAR has had discussions with OSHA for a settlement agreement.

U.S. Construction had previously been cited by OSHA for dangerous conditions at another worksite, 430 Fairmount Ave.

The federal agency got involved after the Philadelphia Police Department called to report the worker’s death. “Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Employers must ensure proper fall protection is in place as required by law as a means to prevent tragedies such as this,” said Theresa Downs, OSHA Philadelphia Area Director in a statement.