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Philadelphia Demolition Contractors Cited by OSHA

Legislation & Regulations

Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting cited for safety violations in fatal June building collapse.

CDR Staff November 15, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Griffin Campbell, doing business as Campbell Construction, and Sean Benschop, doing business as S&R Contracting, for safety violations, including three willful per-instance violations, following the June 5, 2013, building collapse that killed six people and injured 14. Campbell Construction was demolishing the four-story building known as the Hoagie City building adjacent to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, located at the 2100 block of Market Street in Philadelphia. S&R Contracting was operating the building’s interior walls and floors.

“Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting sacrificed worker and public safety through the deliberate neglect of demolition safety fundamentals,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This tragic incident could and should have been prevented.”

OSHA found several violations of OSHA’s demolition construction standards. On the three days leading up to the collapse, Campbell Construction removed critical, structural supports for the wall that collapsed. The OSHA demolition standards prohibit the removal of lateral support walls more than one story high, leaving the wall unsupported. Campbell Construction also removed parts of the lower floors prior to the removal of the upper floors, again, contrary to the OSHA standards. Campbell Construction also failed to provide an engineering survey as promised. As a result, Campbell Construction has been cited for three willful, egregious violations for each day that it left the wall without sufficient lateral support, and two willful violations alleging the failures to demolish the building from the top down and to have an engineering survey by a competent person on the possibility of collapse prior to starting the demolition. S&R Contracting has been cited for one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Additionally, Campbell Construction was cited for serious violations for the company’s failures to provide: employees with hard hats when there was a possible risk of head injury; fall protection for employees working on surfaces at least six feet high; training on fall hazards; and adequate personal fall arrest systems. Campbell Construction also failed to inspect all stairs periodically and to maintain them in a clean, safe condition. S&R Contracting was cited for two serious violations for failing to protect employees from falling through holes and to provide fall hazard training. 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 if an accident were to occur.

The citations can be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CampbellConstruction90726711112013.pdf and www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SeanBenschop_dbaS_RContracting91698111142013.pdf.

OSHA proposed penalties of $313,000 for Campbell Construction and $84,000 for S&R Contracting. Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Philadelphia, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

(Photo, AP Images)

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