Fines Imposed for Safety Violations in 2012 Treatment-Plant Fatality
Failures of a North Carolina company to protect employees from loose soil and rock and inspect for possible hazards on a demolition worksite ended up in a $7,200 fine imposed by the Tennessee Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Roberson Construction & Land Development, Enka, N.C., was cited for three “serious” violations after Michael Eugene Wells was killed on Feb. 23, 2012, when an earthen wall collapsed during demolition of the Gatlinburg Wastewater Treatment Plant’s equalization basin.
The basin was being replaced after a section of its east wall collapsed in April 2011, killing two workers.
The other basin walls had been demolished, and Wells was cutting rebar tied into the foundation at the back wall.
However, the TOSHA report says, “The earthen walls left standing were not sloped, shored, braced or protected”; further, a 4-ft-high, 3.5-ft-deep and 8-ft-long piece of wall “sheared off” above Wells, covering him.
Job supervisors did not make a daily inspection of the excavation area for hazardous conditions, despite the fact that crews had used a 3,500-lb wrecking ball to demolish the concrete walls, the report says.
Southern Constructors Inc., Knoxville, is the contractor for the new $1.6-million equalization basin, scheduled for completion in April.