Huang company fined over fatal wall collapse – QNS.com

Huang company fined over fatal wall collapse

By Rebecca Henely

H Rock Corp., a construction company tied to controversial Flushing developer Tommy Huang, has settled with OSHA over an accident at an Elmhurst construction site that killed one worker and injured three others, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor said.

Another Flushing company, Vera Construction, also reached an informal settlement with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on paying fines levied after the accident, Labor spokesman John Chavez said.

The third Flushing company potentially at fault, Sing Da Corp., has filed a notice of contest and its case is in litigation before OSHA, he said. Neither Vera nor Sing Da is tied to Huang.

Huang, convicted of a felony in 1999 felony for ignoring asbestos contamination in the RKO Keith’s Theatre in Flushing and pouring hundreds of gallons of fuel oil into its basement, is the owner of the construction site for a five-story building at 84-18 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, where the accident occurred.

Hedilberto Sanchez, a 27-year-old father, was standing on a scaffolding while pouring concrete into a 65-foot cinder block wall at Huang’s site in January with a 38-year-old co-worker when the wall collapsed. Sanchez went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead on arrival at Elmhurst Hospital. The 38-year-old co-worker and two workers, ages 39 and 38, who were standing on the wall were injured in the accident.

Following an investigation, OSHA fined Vera Construction, Sing Da Corp. and H Rock Corp., which is owned by Huang’s son Henry, in June.

H Rock Corp. faced a proposed fine of $38,000 involving the safety of the scaffold, the concrete wall’s bracing, unguarded floor holes, lack of head protection and lack of a safety program. H Rock has now agreed to pay $14,670 in 18 installments, Chavez said.

OSHA originally proposed a fine for Vera Construction of more than $15,000 for violations related to unguarded floor holes, failure to have caps on reinforcing steel and lack of a safety program, hazard communication failures and lack of hard hats. It has since settled for $7,656 to be paid in 24 installments, Chavez said.

The employer for Sanchez and the tree injured workers, Sing Da Corp., still is facing a fine of $63,000 for failing to brace the block wall and five scaffold-related safety hazards. Sing Da Corp. also does business as Chung Hing Co.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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