Construction Contractors Cited Following Fatality in Parking Garage Collapse

OSHA has cited contractors for nine safety violations after an employee was fatally crushed when the Berkman Plaza II parking garage under construction in Jacksonville, Fla., collapsed. The citations carry a proposed $192,800 in penalties. These include a willful violation carrying a $49,500 penalty against Choate Construction, the general contractor, and two willful violations with penalties totaling $125,000 against Southern Pan Services (SPS), the concrete formwork contractor. Choate and SPS are each receiving a willful violation for failing to have a qualified person determine if the structure could support the additional three-quarters of an inch of wet concrete weight that was added to the 20-inch floor slab.

In addition, one willful violation is being proposed against SPS for failing to obtain a reshoring drawing, including all revisions, for the reshoring design method used at the site. Choate also is being cited for one serious violation with a proposed $6,300 penalty and one other-than-serious violation with a $900 penalty. SPS is receiving two serious violations resulting in $7,500 in proposed penalties.

A.A. Pittman, a concrete finishing contractor, is being cited for two other-than-serious violations and $3,600 in penalties for recordkeeping violations discovered during the agency’s inspection.

"These employers are experienced in this type of construction and know all too well that disaster can occur when engineering drawings are not adhered to, or are modified, as occurred in this tragic collapse, without the approval of a professional engineer," said James Borders, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. The companies have 15 business days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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