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April 07, 2020
OSHA cites employers in New Orleans collapse

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited 11 employers for safety and health violations at the construction site of a planned Hard Rock hotel in downtown New Orleans. Three workers suffered fatal injuries, and 18 others suffered serious injuries in a partial building collapse. The cited employers face $315,536 in penalties.

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The agency cited Heaslip Engineering LLC with a willful violation of the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 for exposing workers to hazards of building collapse and falling building materials. Structural steel connections were inadequately designed, reviewed, or approved, which affected the structural integrity of the connections, according to OSHA.

“Failing to recognize hazards and implement necessary safety measures resulted in a preventable tragedy,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said in an agency statement.

The agency also cited Heaslip with a serious violation of the General Duty Clause for struck-by hazards caused by design flaws, including:

  • Floor beams in the 16th floor under-designed in load capacity,
  • A western exterior bay that was not tied to a rigid portion of floors 9 through 15, and
  • Cantilevers on the 17th and 18th floors that exceeded the manufacturer’s guidance for maximum spans.

The agency also cited Heaslip with a serious violation of general safety and health provisions of construction industry regulations for failing to initiate and maintain an accident prevention plan at the site.

Citadel Builders LLC was cited for 2 serious violations, including failure to clearly mark exits on the 7th through 18th floors and failure to keep drawings or plans for beam shoring at the job site.

OSHA cited Suncoast Projects LLC, doing business as Hub Steel, with five serious violations of the fall hazard training, hazard communication, means of egress, personal protective equipment (PPE), and structural steel assembly standards, as well as an other-than-serious violation of the powered industrial trucks standard for a forklift operator who was not trained or certified.

Subcontractors also cited

The agency also cited eight subcontractors—F Mata Masonry LLC, HUTCO Inc., King Company LLC, Regional Mechanical Services LLC, REY.CO Inc., Rush Masonry Inc., SS Construction and Consulting LLC, and Southern Services and Equipment Inc.

F Mata Masonry was cited with serious violations for failing to develop and implement a hazard communication program, establish and maintain an exposure control program for respirable crystalline silica, establish a respiratory protection program, and provide fall hazard training and PPE, as well as failing to maintain a free and unobstructed means of egress.

The agency cited HUTCO with serious violations for failing to train workers in the recognition and avoidance of jobsite hazards and for a lack of a free, unobstructed means of egress.

OSHA cited SS Construction and Consulting with serious violations for failing to provide fall hazard training and PPE, as well as failing to maintain a free and unobstructed means of egress.

King Company, Regional Mechanical Services, REY.CO, Rush Masonry, and Southern Services and Equipment were each cited with a serious violation for failing to maintain a free and unobstructed means of egress at all times at the site.

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