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Region 4 News Release: USDL: 00-18
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2000
Contact: Clyde Payne
PHONE: (601) 965-4606 ext.0
CONTRACTORS FINED $38,400 FOLLOWING FATAL ACCIDENT AT CANTON, MISSISSIPPI, HIGH SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION SITE
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited W. H. Scott Construction Company, Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $32,400 for safety and health violations at the Canton High School Auditorium construction site. Also cited and fined $6,000 was Sykes and Sykes Masonry.
According to Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson area director, "On September 8, 1999, James McElroy was tragically killed when a 25-foot high, unbraced masonry block wall collapsed and crushed him.
Following investigation of the accident, OSHA cited W.H. Scott Company for one willful and three serious safety and health violations at the construction site. The agency also cited Sykes and Sykes Masonry for one repeat and two serious safety and health violations. The hazards identified included:
- no temporary bracing for a masonry wall;
- working on scaffolds without guardrails;
- employees not wearing hard hats;
- no limited access zones for construction of masonry walls;
- no strain relief on flexible electrical cords.
Payne said, "Our investigation determined that W. H. Scott Company had willfully not provided temporary bracing for the masonry walls under construction." Payne explained, "Having worked on another project where a brick wall had collapsed, a company official was aware of the potential danger. Yet, he failed to use temporary bracing which could have prevented the tragic accident."
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
W. H. Scott Company, Inc. employs a total of 13 workers; Sykes and Sykes Masonry employs 16 employees. Each company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspections of the worksite were conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, Jackson, Miss. 39211-6323; telephone: (601) 965-4606.
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