OSHA Investigation Into Building Collapse at Power Plant

by | Nov 19, 2022 | Construction Accident, Industrial Accident, Personal Injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into the building collapse in Boston, Massachusetts on May 5, 2022.  During the incident, a demolition worker sustained amputation injuries to both legs after the collapse of a concrete mezzanine platform.  OSHA’s investigation found that two companies “failed to ensure adequate demolition and asbestos safeguards for their employees.”

The OSHA investigation faulted two companies as a result of the incident. Following the investigation, OSHA cited NorthStar Contracting Group for violating the following federal standards:

  • 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2):The employer did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his/her environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
  • 29 CFR 1926.250(a)(2)(ii): Employers shall conspicuously post maximum safe load limits of floors within buildings and structures, in pounds per square foot, in all storage areas, except when the storage area is on a floor or slab on grade. Posting is not required for storage areas in all single-family residential structures and wood-framed multi-family residential structures.
  • 29 CFR 1926.1101(g)(8)(v)(D): Asbestos-containing material removed was not immediately bagged or wrapped, or kept wetted until transferred to a closed receptacle, no later than the end of the work shift.
  • 29 CFR 1926.1101(h)(1)(ii):Respirators were not used during Class II work where asbestos containing material was not removed in a substantially intact state.
  • 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(1)(i)(A): Respirators with tight-fitting facepieces were worn by employees who had facial hair that came between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face or that interfered with valve function.
  • 29 CFR 1926.850(a):An engineering survey was not performed by a competent person to determine the condition of the framing, floors and walls and the possibility of unplanned collapse of any portion of the structure prior to permitting employees to start demolition operations.

OSHA proposed penalties of $399,864.00.  OSHA also cited Suffolk Construction, the general contractor on the project, for the following violations:

  • 29 CFR 1926.20(b)(2):The employer did not initiate and maintain programs which provided for frequent and regular inspections of the job site, materials and equipment to be made by a competent person(s).
  • 29 CFR 1926.250(a)(2) :Maximum safe load limits of floors within buildings and structures in pounds per square foot, were not conspicuously posted in all above grade storage areas.
  • 29 CFR 1926.850(a): Prior to permitting employees to start demolition operations, an engineering survey was not made by a competent person of the structure to determine the condition of the framing, floors, and walls, and possibility of unplanned collapse of any portion of the structure, including adjacent structures where employees may be exposed. The employer did not have in writing evidence that such a survey was performed.
  • 29 CFR 1926.1101(d)(5): As supervisor of the entire project, the general contractor did not ascertain whether the asbestos contractor was in compliance with the asbestos standard, and did not require such contractor to come into compliance with this standard.

OSHA proposed penalties of $292,116.00 against Suffolk Construction.

Construction workers put their lives at risk in a dangerous industry every single day.  Ultimately, horrible incidents may never had occurred had federal regulations been obeyed.  Workers face risks and hazards that must be adequately discussed and planned for before work begins.

Here, a worker tragically lost his legs as a result of the failures found in the OSHA investigation.  Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured in a trenching or excavation accident.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.