Flushing builder slammed with fines for unsafe sites

One of the addresses of the business fined by U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in this downtown Flushing office building. Photo by Joe Anuta
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A Flushing construction firm is facing $94,380 in fines for repeatedly putting workers at risk for deadly falls or electric shocks, the U.S. Labor Department said last Thursday.

“The recurring nature of these hazards is disturbing, especially given their potentially lethal nature,” said Kay Gee, of the department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration. “A fall or an electric current can end a worker’s career or life in seconds. Proper and effective safeguards must be maintained on all job sites at all times.”

The fines stemmed from unprotected scaffolding, which exposed workers to the possibility of falling 15 feet onto a concrete sidewalk, according to OSHA. The contractor, Core Continental Construction, listed as being at 36-40 Main St., Suite 205, also used frayed and ungrounded extension cords to power a tile cutter, which could cause electrocution, the administration said.

The company is run by a man named Chunlin Chiang, according to state documents, but someone also appears to have listed the contractor under multiple addresses in corporation databases.

The firm’s name is registered several times with the New York Department of State with different numbers after it and several addresses.

OSHA has the firm’s address as 36-40 Main St., Suite 205, but state records show it is also listed at 140-37 Cherry Ave. and 140-14 Cherry Ave., Apt. 3B, depending on whether the record is for Core Continental Construction or Core Continental Construction 2, 3, v or 6.

OSHA previously cited hazardous conditions in 2008 and 2010 at construction sites in Flushing and Manhattan. Many of the violations occurred at a downtown Flushing condominium on 41st Road.

For those violations, the firm was fined $71,280, according to OSHA.

But after inspectors visited a site in Manhattan recently and found 13 violations, they saw that many of them were the same as those found before.

Seven of those were what the department categorizes as “serious,” which means there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could occur as a result of hazards the company should have known about, according to the administration. The construction firm was fined an additional $23,100 for the repeat violations.

In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured after falling off of elevated work areas and more than 250 workers were killed across the country, according to OSHA.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 9:03 am, June 28, 2012
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Reader feedback

Edward Stern from Bethesda, MD says:
The Times Ledger's story about OSHA fines on Core Continental Construction prompted me to look at the online OSHA records on the company. I went to the Data & Statistics tab on www.osha.gov. Then I selected Establishment Data and typed in the company name.
It showed past violations in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 for the same sorts of things. Core Continental Construction's continuing disregard for human life should be enough for a criminal charge of reckless endangement. The States Attorney should not wait for a negligent homicide case.
July 2, 2012, 1:20 pm

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