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Willful Acts Lead to Six Killed, Fourteen Injured, and fines by OSHA of $313,000.00 and $84,000.00

Failure to recognize workplace hazards lead to human suffering, and we can avoid this suffering by recognizing the hazards that lead to injuries.  Safety Topics found that OSHA has once again made that point with fines levied on two construction companies.  I see the problem as; we want the “company” to recognize the hazards, but the problem is not recognizing that “We” are the company.  The old saying: “Everyone is responsible for Safety” comes to mind.

In this case, Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting were cited for willfully not following demolition standards, conducting work site inspections, and not providing the proper personal protective equipment.  Ignoring standards lead to six deaths and fourteen injures.

“Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting sacrificed worker and public safety through the deliberate neglect of demolition safety fundamentals,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This tragic incident could and should have been prevented.” (from OSHA website)

According to OSHA:

OSHA found several violations of OSHA’s demolition construction standards. On the three days leading up to the collapse, Campbell Construction removed critical, structural supports for the wall that collapsed. The OSHA demolition standards prohibit the removal of lateral support walls more than one story high, leaving the wall unsupported. Campbell Construction also removed parts of the lower floors prior to the removal of the upper floors, again, contrary to the OSHA standards. Campbell Construction also failed to provide an engineering survey as promised. As a result, Campbell Construction has been cited for three willful, egregious violations for each day that it left the wall without sufficient lateral support, and two willful violations alleging the failures to demolish the building from the top down and to have an engineering survey by a competent person on the possibility of collapse prior to starting the demolition. S&R Contracting has been cited for one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Campbell Construction was cited for serious violations for the company’s failures to provide: employees with hard hats when there was a possible risk of head injury; fall protection for employees working on surfaces at least six feet high; training on fall hazards; and adequate personal fall arrest systems. Campbell Construction also failed to inspect all stairs periodically and to maintain them in a clean, safe condition. S&R Contracting was cited for two serious violations for failing to protect employees from falling through holes and to provide fall hazard training. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known if an accident were to occur.  (from OSHA website)

The simple act of recognizing the hazards cannot be overstated and one place to identify the hazards is in the safety [standards] procedures and company rules.  As taught in my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop, “Where there is a rule, there is a hazard.  But where there is a hazard, there may not be a rule.”  Recognizing the hazards and taking action to mitigate the risk they pose is everyone’s responsibility [this means executives, management, supervision, and workers].

Don’t wait for fatalities, injuries, or citation to take action.  Recognize, evaluate, and control hazards in your workplace.  If your safety management process provides for a STOP WORK ORDER when hazards are recognized, use it before someone gets hurt.  STOP WORK and identify the hazard(s) that prompted the order, evaluate the risk, and then apply the control to mitigate the risk to a level that guarantees no injury.

Remember, companies in the United States must be focused on conducting business in a way that nobody gets hurt, that’s the goal.  A safe work site must be accomplished at lowest possible level of the organization because that’s where the injuries occur.


Be Safe!

Carl Potter, CSP


Provide your organization with training that will motivate your personnel to take responsibility for hazards in their workplace.  Contact me to discuss how we can work together in the next 12 months to improve the ability of your see hazards in their workplace.  For more information email and request a quote to have this workshop at your location.

2 Responses to Willful Acts Lead to Six Killed, Fourteen Injured, and fines by OSHA of $313,000.00 and $84,000.00

  • Brian scherer says:


    • admin says:

      True Brian,
      I am headed up to Calgary, AB this week to speak for a company and the client let me know that their OSHA is fining employees for violations. Many changes are in the wind.


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