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2 Firms Fined $130K in Stadium Death

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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U.S. authorities are alleging willful wrongdoing in the fatal fall of a 25-year-old construction worker on the $450 million Texas A&M stadium redevelopment project.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited subcontractors Lindamood Demolition, of Irving, TX, and Texas Cutting & Coring, of Round Rock, for a total of five safety violations, including two willful, following the death of Angel Garcia, a skid-steer loader operator, on Dec. 3, 2013.

Texas A&M University / YouTube

OSHA has cited two subcontractors working on the $450 million upgrade to Kyle Field in College Station, TX, after Angel Garcia died after he fell from the fourth level.

Garcia, employed by Lindamood, fell from the fourth level, approximately 10 feet, at the north end of Kyle Field, according to university officials. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

OSHA announced the fines—$63,200 to Lindamood and $67,500 to Texas Cutting & Coring—on Thursday (May 29).

Kyle Field is undergoing a $450 million upgrade led by Manhattan-Vaughn Construction, of Houston.

Investigation Details

According to the agency, investigators found that the victim was operating a skid-steer loader to support a 3,340-pound concrete stub, while a Texas Cutting & Coring employee used a circular saw to cut the stub from its support column.

“The stub caused the skid-steer to be overloaded, and it tipped over a ramp wall, falling more than 70 feet to the ground,” OSHA explained.

“The loader operator was ejected from the skid-steer when the machine struck a horizontal beam during its fall.”

Casey Perkins
DOL.gov

OSHA's area director in Austin, Casey Perkins, said the subcontractors failed to provide workers on the Kyle Field renovation project with safe demolition procedures.

Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin, said, “These experienced contractors failed to provide employees with safe demolition procedures despite concerns from workers.”

“Employees had to work under the load and directly beside the skid-steer where they could be struck by the equipment or heavy, concrete debris. This disregard for worker safety is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said.

Willful Citations…

A willful citation, with a penalty of $56,000, was issued to Lindamood for allegedly exceeding the operating capacity of the skid-steer loader where the equipment was routinely loaded with concrete until obvious signs of tipping were seen.

Lindemood Demolition
Lindemood Demolition

Lindemood's past projects include this 2006 demolition of a hospital in Waco, TX. In the current case, authorities said, an overloaded skid-steer loader tipped over a railing and plunged 70 feet to the ground, ejecting the operator into a 10-foot fall that left him fatally injured.

Texas Cutting & Coring was also cited for a willful violation, with a penalty of $63,000, for exposing workers to the hazard of being struck-by the skid-steer loader and concrete, OSHA alleged.

A willful violation—the agency’s highest level of infraction—is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

OSHA placed Lindamood in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

...And Serious Violations Alleged

Lindamood also received two serious citations, carrying $7,200 in fines, for failing to provide effective fall prevention measures and ensure that stop-logs were used to prevent equipment from falling into open holes, according to OSHA citation documents.

Texas Cutting & Coring was also issued one serious citation, with a penalty of $4,500, for failing to provide fall protection.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Past OSHA Violations

OSHA records indicate that Lindamood was cited in May 2013 for one serious safety violation regarding demolition preparation operations. The penalty fine was initially $4,900; however, the company informally settled the violation to reduce the classification to “other-than-serious” and the fine to $2,000.

OSHA
Koralie Hill / OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. This week, OSHA is sponsoring a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

OSHA records show one open OSHA case against Texas Cutting & Coring from February, initiated by a complaint; however, no violations have been issued. A spokesman from OSHA could not provide further details on that case.

About the Contractors

According to its website, Lindamood Demolition has more than 30 years of experience in commercial and residential demolition. The company’s portfolio includes the University of Texas Science Building in Austin and Providence Hospital in Waco.

Lindamood employs about 80 workers; 20 are performing work at the Kyle Field site.

Texas Cutting & Coring, founded in 1997, employs about 118 workers; 12 are working on the Texas A&M stadium project.

The company performs core drilling, flat sawing, wall sawing and concrete removal throughout Texas, according to its website.

Neither company immediately responded Friday (May 30) to a request for comment.

Each has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  

   

Tagged categories: Citations; Demolition; Ethics; Fall protection; Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA; Regulations; Renovation; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Subcontractors

Comment from Jim Johnson, (6/4/2014, 12:34 PM)

And the VA hospitals kill 40 people in phoenix alone and no one is criminally charged....that makes this tragedy seem miniscule in comparison. Why is it that government employees are never held responsible for taking peoples lives?


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