BMLS Attorney John Bieder Successfully Reduces Fine Imposed Against Client at DOB Hearing
BMLS attorney John Bieder handled a Department of Building (“DOB”) hearing representing a well-known general contractor wherein two summonses were issued as a result of a construction worker’s fall. Following a contentious hearing where the DOB and Mr. Bieder each called witnesses and submitted evidence in their favor, the Court entirely dismissed a violation for the construction worker’s alleged failure to be fastened to a safe point of anchorage, finding “while it is true [the construction worker] was not attached….at the time he fell, it is solely because he unhooked himself from it.” The Court further stated that the general contractor “cannot reasonably be held responsible for [the construction worker’s] sudden unhooking himself from the retractable. All the proper safety equipment was available.”
The Court did find the general contractor violated §3301.2 for “Failure to safeguard all persons and property affected by construction operations.” As a result of the violation, the court issued its lowest possible fine of $1,600 on a violation with a maximum fine of up to $25,000. In its decision, the Court reasoned that although it was proper that the plank the construction worker fell from was unsecured as it was in the process of being removed, because it was not secured while workers were still in a position to walk on it, it was a violation of §3301.2.
Of note in the Court’s decision are the Judge’s comments that Mr. Bieder’s witness was well-prepared and “extremely experienced in construction safety and was very articulate in discussing safety issues, including the extensive safety measures taken at this site.” The Court further noted that “everyone’s response to the accident was quick, efficient and appropriate.”