OSHA Determines Wrong Floor Designs Led to Contractor's Death

The agency claims the builder's failure to follow safety standards caused the fatality.

An OSHA investigation discovered that a Kiln, Miss., project's initial plans for a wood floor did not seek new engineering plans for a concrete floor, causing the floor to collapse, trapping a worker who later died underneath.

Great Southern Building Systems LLC was cited for one willful and two serious safety violations as a result. A willful citation was issued for exposing workers to being struck by materials, and the serious citations were issued for not installing the proper formwork and not having engineering plans for the concrete floor on site.

OSHA cited Berthelot Design Systems and subcontractor Great Southern Building Systems LLC, doing business as Bayou Steel Fabricators Inc., for safety violations related to the collapse. The agency waived the citations and penalties against Berthelot because he was the company's only employee.

"Great Southern Building Systems, LLC failed in its responsibility to protect its employees, despite being warned that the floor was unstable," said Eugene Stewart, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office. "This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer obtained new engineering plans and followed the requirements."

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