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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C.
Helping Injured Workers In Arizona Since 1973

Some fatal construction accidents are preventable

Arizona construction sites are dangerous places, to be sure. Many companies institute safety regulations to help keep their workers safe. Imagine how many construction accidents would potentially occur without the proper precautions. Sadly, in another state, a construction company's apparent willful disregard of these safety precautions resulted in the death of a worker.

According to an official investigation by federal workplace safety inspectors, a building collapse that claimed the life of a construction worker was preventable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two additional citations recently against Hultgren Construction. These newest citations are only a few in the string that have already been issued after this incident, as the fatal accident could have been avoided had the company not willfully disregarded safety protocol.

The accident occurred workers were told to remove two load-bearing walls. However, the OSHA investigation found that no instructions on installing a temporary support system were provided, nor was an engineering survey conducted before the demolition was started. This resulted in the Dec. 2, 2016 collapse of the former Copper Lounge building, during which a construction worker was killed and a resident of the apartment was trapped for hours beneath rubble.

Coming with proposed penalties of $101,400, these two most recent citations are both classified as willful. This highest level of violation indicates that OSHA concluded the construction company either acted with plain indifference to employee safety or knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement. Apart from OSHA'S findings and citations, the grieving family is left behind to deal with their loss and the knowledge that the accident was preventable. In cases of fatal construction accidents like this in Arizona, a workers' compensation attorney may be able to help the family seek the full amount of benefits to which they are entitled, as well as to explore whether additional claims for relief through the civil justice system may be appropriate under the circumstances.

Source: argusleader.com, "OSHA: Company 'willfully' ignored safety rules before building collapse", Mark Walker and Joe Sneve, May 1, 2017

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