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5 Firms Cited at Student Housing Project

Thursday, June 16, 2016

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Five contractors face a total of $115,200 in federal fines for allegedly exposing workers to falls and other safety hazards at a troubled student housing construction project in Lincoln, NE.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered the hazards in December 2015 at Aspen Heights, a three-building apartment complex under construction.

Aspen Heights
Screenshot via Aspen Heights virtual tour

The contractors were working to build a student-housing facility called Aspen Heights in Lincoln, NE. It is slated to open this fall, reports relate.

Workers at the site were exposed to fall hazards of up to five stories while performing framing activities, OSHA alleged in announcing the case Tuesday (June 14).

Moreover, OSHA said employees were exposed to fall hazards while working in the vicinity of a ladder system and floor hole, according to documents in the case.

5 Firms Cited

According to OSHA, the framing subcontractor, East Framing Inc. of Grimesland, NC, was fined $65,450 and South Georgia Framers, of Statesboro, GA, was fined $33,000. Each was cited with four alleged safety violations.

America’s Best Siding, based in Fort Collins, CO, and ProCon Construction Services of Ailey, GA, were also cited for serious violations, carrying proposed fines of $9,100 and $3,150, respectively.

The project developer, Aspen Heights Partners, of Austin, TX, was also hit with $4,500 in proposed fines for three serious safety infractions. The developer did not immediately respond Wednesday (June 15) to a request for comment on the case.

"A worker’s life can be forever altered or ended in the seconds it takes to fall,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha.

“Controlling contractors and subcontractors have a responsibility to protect workers on its construction sites from falls, which cause four out of 10 workplace fatalities in the construction industry. More tragic than that is the reality that these falls are preventable.”

The companies have 15 days to respond to the case.

Past Safety Issue

This isn’t the first OSHA case involving unsafe conditions reportedly observed at the Lincoln Aspen Heights jobsite.

CBS Pilings Solutions Inc., a Riverside, MO-based drilling contractor, was cited in October 2015 for three serious safety violations after a 42-year-old worker was killed by an 80-foot piece of rebar that fell 130 feet from a crane, in June 2015.

In issuing those violations, the agency said the company failed to rig the load properly and to train employees to recognize struck-by hazards, and did not remove all non-essential employees from the fall zone during crane operations.

Proposed penalties in that case totaled $14,700.The company has contested the violations, according to the agency’s online database.


Tagged categories: Building owners; Citations; Construction; Developers; Fatalities; Health and safety; Housing; OSHA

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