Schuff Steel, California Settle Fine Related to Facebook Project Accident
Schuff Steel Co. recently settled with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA) over citations related to the second of two accidents the steel erection contractor had in 2017 while working on Facebook's new Menlo Park headquarters.
The accident involved a partial collapse of beams that caused two ironworkers to fall from the structure's fourth floor. The workers, who both were treated at a hospital, escaped more serious injury because they were tied off.
CalOSHA said that Schuff failed to follow the erection plan for the project for beams over 25 feet long. The state agency had cited Schuff for a willful-serious violation, according to the Cal-OSHA Reporter, a safety newsletter.
The settlement downgraded the willful classification, amending it to "serious, accident-related," and reduced a proposed $90,000 penalty to $60,000. The Division withdrew a "serious" citation, which prohibits a structure from being subjected to loads beyond its design strength.
An additional "serious" violation, with the same penalty of $18,000, was affirmed. While that penalty is unchanged, its "accident-related" designation was removed. That specific safety order says that machinery and equipment shall not be operated under conditions of speeds, loads, stresses or environmental conditions contrary to manufacturer's recommendations.
Phoenix-based Schuff, which is both a fabricator and erector, agreed in the settlement to discontinue its use of malleable steel clamps on its California projects and replace them with drop-forged steel clamps. The exact causes of the accident aren't clear, but rigging experts have pointed out that drop-forged clamps or clips currently used in rigging perform better than malleable steel clamps. American Society of Mechanical Engineers B30.5 and B30.26 standards call for saddles on wire-rope clips made of forged steel. The standards relate to single saddle (U-Bolt) or double-saddle clips.
At the time of the incident, the job was progressing ahead of schedule and smoothly, says Scott Sherman, vice-president and general counsel for Schuff Steel's parent company, DBM Global.
He noted the company had reached a "no admission of liability" settlement with Cal-OSHA on the citations issued, including dismissal of the most serious violations.
"Schuff Steel is proud of its industry leading experience modification rate and commitment to safety leadership as recognized by its customers," Sherman says, adding that the company recently won a safety award for its work on Denver International Airport.
"Schuff Steel strives to learn from every incident, and to do even better moving forward as it works on some of the most complex construction projects in the United States… As a result of its experience on the project, Schuff has implemented additional safety procedures to ensure worker safety," Sherman says.