The contractor in the December 2007 collapse of a Jacksonville, Fla., parking garage during construction is claiming exoneration by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for responsibility in the catastrophe. A laborer died, and 23 other workers were injured. But OSHA insists that the case remains open, despite the agency’s formal settlement with the contractor.
In June 2008, OSHA concluded its investigation into the collapse of the Berkman Plaza II parking structure and proposed penalties totaling $192,800 against Choate Construction Co., Atlanta, the general contractor; Southern Pan Services, Lithonia, Ga., the concrete formwork contractor; and A.A. Pittman Concrete, Jacksonville, the finishing contractor, for nine alleged safety violations. In mid-April, OSHA and Choate agreed to settle Choate’s proposed violations, reclassifying one willful violation to “serious” and penalizing Choate $14,000 for that and a “less-than-serious” violation. Choate accepted the penalty without admitting wrongdoing or safety violations, and the settlement was recorded as final on June 1.