Worker death results in citations against four construction firms

In July 2014, a 25-year-old Tallahassee construction worker was fatally injured while working on a six-story residence hall at Florida State University. This week, after concluding its investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations against four of the companies involved with the project.

According to OSHA, the companies left a window frame uncovered, which exposed workers to the dangers of being crushed by an elevator responsible for transporting personnel and materials. The elevator passed within inches of the window frame, and this hazard resulted in the death of the 25-year-old worker. The four companies involved, Culpepper Construction Company, Miller’s Plumbing, Benchmark Erectors Inc., and Fleck Exterior Systems, were fined for exposing workers to crushing hazards. These are serious violations, and the penalties totaled $149,000.

Commenting on the accident, OSHA’s director for the Jacksonville area said that increased safety audits and a system to ensure that hazards have been eliminated once noticed would have prevented the accident. He also said that it is the responsibility of all the employers to provide a safe and helpful workplace.

Out of all the industries in the United States, construction is one of the most dangerous. Fortunately, assistance is available to individuals and families that have been affected by construction accidents. When a worker is hurt while on the job, he or she will generally be able to file for workers’ compensation. Similarly, when a worker is killed in the job, benefits will generally be awarded to his or her family members. Since the effects of a workers’ compensation claim can be far-reaching, many individuals and families choose to have a legal representative on board who may be of assistance.

Source: wtxltv, “Four Tallahassee Construction Companies Cited After Worker Death”, Amanda Blomquist Alex Cordero and Alex Cordero, Jan. 7, 2015