An Illinois-based demolition company has been found responsible for the April 2016 death of a 47-year-old construction worker, following a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation.
Omega Demolition Corp., Elgin, Ill., was cited for willfully failing to prevent overstressing a 180-ft-long, 40-ton beam during demolition of an I-90 overpass near Chicago, according to an OSHA-issued statement.
Inspectors say that, at the time of the incident, the worker, an Omega employee with more than 20 years of construction experience, was standing in an aerial lift and torch-cutting steel bracing between two beams supporting the overpass. One of the beams fell on the worker, who was transported to a hospital in critical condition and later died. Three other Omega employees sustained minor injuries.
Omega was working as a subcontractor to New York City-based Judlau Contracting Inc., which was not cited in the incident.
In addition, OSHA inspectors penalized Omega for failing to follow federal respiratory protection standards, resulting in a total fine of $152,433.
OSHA also has placed Omega in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, making the company subject to stepped-up inspection and enforcement. The company has been cited for safety violations in eight out of 14 federal inspections conducted over the past 12 years. In 2003, Omega was issued six citations during its work on Milwaukee’s Park East Freeway, including two willful violations of federal lead-exposure standards. The original OSHA fine of $88,000 was subsequently negotiated down to $18,000.
Omega has not indicated whether it will accept or contest the penalty for the April 2016 incident. According to an undated page on its website, Omega claims to have an “unwavering” commitment to safety, with a workers’ compensation experience modification rating of 0.79.