Kern County Builders' Exchange News

Date ArticleType
11/16/2016 Safety
Worker crushed to death by 40-ton beam; $152K OSHA fine

SAFETY MOMENT OF THE WEEK         

Worker crushed to death by 40-ton beam; $152K OSHA fine

An overstressed beam at a construction site fell and crushed a worker to death. Now OSHA has issued fines for violations of its regulations having to do with demolition. 

On April 5, 2016, 47-year-old Vincente Santoyo was standing in an aerial lift and torch cutting steel bracing between two beams when one of the beams fell. It crushed Santoyo who was taken to a hospital and died of his injuries. Three other workers received minor injuries in the incident.

The workers, employers of Omega Demolition Corp. of Elgin, IL, were working on the demolition of an Interstate 90 overpass in Chicago.

OSHA issued $152,433 in fines for one willful, three serious and one other-than-serious violation to Omega for:

  • overstressing the beam during demolition, and
  • failure to follow standards for respiratory protection including training workers, fit testing them for the appropriate respirator and maintaining fit test records.

“Federal safety standards for demolition address specific procedures for preventing steel structures from being overstressed, a safety violation that directly contributed to the death of this worker,” said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago.

OSHA has also placed Omega in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program which allows the agency to inspect any of the employer’s work sites if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Previously, OSHA had inspected Omega 14 times since 2004 and issued citations in eight of those inspections.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or appeal the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. 

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