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Safety News Item – 09/12/08 – NYC Construction Accidents


The New York Times recently ran an article concerning a fatal incident caused by what was described as a safety strap system failure. The strap was still attached to the worker’s harness and had pulled completely off of its mooring on the building.
The article also discussed the rash of construction fatalities in New York in 2008 – citing at least 10 since the start of the year.

To read the complete article read New York Times article.


Safety News Item – Cintas fined over $2.75 million for fall death


OSHA levied fines in excess of $2.75 million against Cintas for the death of an employee who fell into an industrial dryer.
OSHA found that safety and health rules were ignored and issued 42 willful, instance-by-instance citations.
To read the whole story go to OSHA fines Cintas.


Safety News Item – 04/13/07 – Tropicana Collapse Settlement


The various defendants in the Atlantic City, NJ Tropicana Casino collapse case have settled for $101 million. This is believed to be the largest settlement of a construction case in US history.
The settlement will be shared by the plaintiffs; the families of the four the construction workers who died and the 30 other workers injured in the collapse.
The plaintiffs were prepared to demonstrate that the collapse was completely avoidable and occurred because accepted construction practices were not followed in an effort to speed construction to completion before the rival Borgata casino opened.
OSHA found numerous violations by the defendants and initially levied fines of nearly $120,000 (later reduced).
Testimony in case depositions included the contention by some of the workers that they had complained about the work not being done a proper and safe manner prior to the collapse.


Safety News Item – Supreme Court of Texas Upholds $14+ Million Fall Case Award


In June 2006, the Supreme Court of Texas upheld an award of over $14 million to the family of an oil rig construction worker who fell to his death, in front of his father, as the rig was being built.

Dr. J. Nigel Ellis was retained by the family as the fall protection expert in this case and in the words of the prevailing counsel Dr. Ellis’ “role in the this case was one of the fundamental reasons for our long-term victory.”

To see the complete letter from counsel go ELS Testimonials.

To find out more about the services offered by Ellis Litigation Support go to ELS Services on this web site.


Safety News Item – 06/17/05 – Fatal Fall from GWB


OSHA ruled that a February 2005 fatal fall of an ironworker from the George Washington Bridge could have been prevented if the employer had made available and required the use of proper fall protection.

OSHA found that workers were exposed to falls of 70 feet without any fall protection. The ironworkers were at the top of the anchorage house and catwalk without guardrails.

A Manhattan area OSHA official stated, “Had proper safeguards been in place, this accident would have been avoided.


Safety News Item – 06/10/05 – Expert Testimony Not Allowed


The Pennsylvania appellate court, in May 2005, upheld the lower court’s ruling that because the crane rental company did not have “direct control” of the rigging operation as the general contractor directed the work and prepared the equipment.
Accordingly, the OSHA and ANSI Standards did not apply to the crane operations.
Therefore, the plaintiff’s expert erred when he applied ANSI B30.5-1968 to the crane operator and did not have an adequate basis in fact upon which to base her opinion.


Safety News Item – 11/19/04 – Rail Worker Awarded $1 Million for Fall


The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a jury verdict of more than 1 million dollars to a New York railworker who was seriously injured in a fall from a boom truck ladder.

The Appeals Court upheld the lower Court’s ruling that the OSHA regulations as to ladder safety were not preempted by the USDOT motor vehicle safety rules as the boom truck was not covered by USDOT.

Further, the Appeals Court found the worker’s injuries to be of such a serious nature that the damages awarded did not “shock the conscience”.


Safety News Item – 11/12/04 – Construction Site $16 million settlement


A worker who suffered a permanent brain injury in a construction site accident settled for $16 million in a Pennsylvania case.
The worker was at the bottom of an elevator shaft when he was struck by debris from above.
Barriers, which were not installed, on the upper floors at the elevator shaft could have prevented this tradegy while allowing the work to proceed. Dr. J. Nigel Ellis, who worked on the case for plaintiff, described how the barriers could have been erected to maximize safety.


06/25/04 – Safety News Item. DC Circuit Court of Appeals confirms employer’s violation of safety rules.


The DC Circuit court confirmed in June 2004 the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s finding that the dangerous method of demolition being used put the employer on notice that safety measures were required for workers, and such measures were not implemented.

A worker for Fabi Construction fell down a 110 foot elevator shaft to his death when the slab on which he was working collapsed. This occured at the TropWorld Tower in Atlantic City where a 21 story hotel was being built on top of a 10 story pre-existing garage. The Fabi workers were working on the demolition of knockout panels in the garage.

OSHA had cited Fabi for willful, serious and other-than-serious violations. These were upheld by the court.

See Occupational Safety and Health Reporter, vol.34 no.24 (BNA, Inc. publisher)


05/28/04 – Safety News Item. 3 construction deaths leads to owner take-over of project


Southern Co., the utility that owns a Georgia power plant where 3 construction workers died in 3 months, took over the project and dismissed the general contractor, W.G. Yates. A Southern Co., spokesman stated, “We needed to make this move for the confidence of the community and the confidence of the workers.”

A Yates spokesman stated that prior to the 3 deaths this year the company had not had a work-related fatality in 40 years. Yates is one of the 50 largest construction contractors in the nation based on 2003 revenues.

The OSHA investigations reveal that all 3 workers died in falls. The falls occurred despite the 4-6 hour safety orientations with written exams, a zero tolerance policy on fall protection and a six foot trigger for fall protection for all work. the incidents involved a fall from a steam turbine generator platform, an aerial lift tip over and a fall from a construction platform as it was being erected.

Occupational Safety & Health Reporter, May 13, 2004 (vol. 34, no. 20), BNA, Inc. publisher.


Tip of the Week No. 20 – 04/26/04. Speed up.


For all the urgency to speed the job along, finish and move on, subcontractors must take time to analyze rising insurance costs and to consider the risk of falls by those who often are friends.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 3rd Edition” page 62.
How about ordering a copy of for yourself? Order online now.


04/02/04 – Safety News Item of the Week. Criminal conviction in Iowa for wilful OSHA violations.


Trigon, Inc. and its president Karl Thompson were found guilty of wilful violation of work safety laws causing death in a jury trial in the first criminal case prosecuted in Iowa for such violations. A communication tower worker fell to his death and it was determined he did not have proper training or protective equipment. Trigon and Thompson were convicted of violations for failing to provide appropriate safety training and for failure to provide appropriate protective equipment.

Addressing the failure to train Mr. Thompson stated it was his practice to “train after we can see if they can hack it.”

Iowa’s Labor Commissioner, Byron Orton, said, “Those employers that willfully violate Iowa OSHA safety regulations and thereby cause the death of a worker will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”


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