Tennessee business owners in the construction industry may be interested to learn about a demolition contractor in another state who received a maximum OSHA fine of $397,000. The company was cited because basic safety precautions were not followed. Death and disfigurement of unsuspecting people were the result of the contractor`s failure to comply. The OSHA fine follows an investigation into an incident that happened in June when a very old four-story building had to be demolished. OSHA found that the method used to tear down the building was unsafe.
The building was located along a very busy road and adjacent to a Salvation Army store. OSHA reported that the contractor disregarded the proximity of the surrounding occupied buildings when deciding on the method of demolition. Instead of hiring a large crew who could remove the bricks and the beams by hand, the contractor allegedly chose to use heavy machinery. At a news conference, a district attorney said that the method seemed to have been motivated by greed.
Removing vital building supports may have been an effort to salvage large quantities of building material for resale. This resulted in the collapse of a supporting wall, and piles of lumber and bricks crashed onto the adjacent Salvation Army store — where scores of workers and shoppers were going about their business. Thirteen people had to be rescued from under the rubble, and most of them were seriously injured. Some victims sustained severe head injuries, while one victim lost both legs. There were six fatalities for which the demolition contractor received charges of third-degree murder.
The contractor was also charged with causing a catastrophe, criminal conspiracy and reckless endangerment. As would be the case in Tennessee, injured workers of this demolition company retain the right to claim workers` compensation for the injuries, death and disfigurement they suffered as a result of this tragedy. Victims and the families of the deceased have staggering costs to face, in addition to loss of income and permanent disability in one case. Financial compensation could at least play a part in helping these people to move forward.
Source: Yahoo News, Contractor charged with murder after deadly Philadelphia collapse, Dan Kelley, Nov. 25, 2013