Feb. 13, 2007
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
DALLAS -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations to a Covina, Calif.-based contractor for alleged failure to protect employees from falling objects that contributed to the death of two employees at a Dallas demolition site in August. Proposed penalties total $135,900.
OSHA cited Cleveland Wrecking Co., a demolition company that employs 355 people, for two alleged willful and three alleged serious violations following an Aug. 14, 2006, incident that killed two employees at a job site on Commerce Street in Dallas. Following the demolition of the19th floor, a loader that was being used to remove debris dislodged bricks and concrete from the exterior wall. The bricks and concrete materials fell to the ground and struck the two employees, who were working in the immediate area.
"The employer knew prior to the start of demolition that protection from falling objects and materials was critical, but failed to take necessary measures to protect employees," said Kathryn Delaney, OSHA area director in Dallas. "There were several opportunities, prior to the fatalities, for the employer to implement planned safety measures that could have prevented this tragedy."
The alleged willful violations were failure to protect employees from falling objects and not using an enclosed chute for dropping materials to points lying outside the exterior walls of the building. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Alleged serious violations were deficiencies in guardrails systems, unguarded floor holes and not using curbs or stop-logs to prevent mechanical equipment from running over the edge of floor openings. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The general contracting firm Hensel Phelps Construction Co., also had employees working at the job site exposed to the same hazard associated with the fatal accident, and received a citation for an alleged serious violation for failing to protect employees from falling objects. The citation carries a proposed penalty of $2,500.
Cleveland Wrecking Co. and Hensel Phelps Construction Co. have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Dallas or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health can contact OSHA's Dallas area office at (214) 320-2400. A toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-(800) 321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.