Florida

After hotel construction deaths near Disney World, companies facing $157,000 in fines

Two workers fall from scaffolding near Disney World

Two construction workers fell to their deaths in 2018 when scaffolding collapsed above the sixth floor of a JW Marriott hotel under construction near Walt Disney World in Orlando. A third worker managed to hang on and climb to safety.
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Two construction workers fell to their deaths in 2018 when scaffolding collapsed above the sixth floor of a JW Marriott hotel under construction near Walt Disney World in Orlando. A third worker managed to hang on and climb to safety.

Multiple failures to inspect equipment led to two men falling to their deaths last August at the Disney World-area JW Marriott under construction, OSHA said in proposing $157,792 in fines for PCL Construction and Universal Engineering Services.

Lorenzo Zavala, 34, and Jerry Bell, a 46-year-old father and stepfather, were pouring concrete on the seventh floor before dawn on Aug. 29 when the scaffolding collapsed.

PCL and Universal each received two Serious citations for using “outdated drawings for embedding bolts and brackets into shear wall (21) and without approval form the shoring engineer and the structural engineer of record” and, then, not properly inspecting those bolts and brackets.

That, “created a collapse hazard of the seventh floor,” said the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Wednesday’s Department of Labor announcement said “OSHA found the contractors failed to inspect formwork, shoring, working decks, and scaffolds properly prior to construction to ensure that the equipment met the required specified formwork drawings.

“OSHA also issued PCL Construction Services Inc. a Willful citation — for the maximum allowed by law — for failing to design, fabricate, erect, support, and brace the formwork so that it was capable of supporting vertical and lateral loads.”

A Willful violation is the worst OSHA citation, defined as “a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”

PCL took the brunt of the proposed fine, $144,532, and took the quickest umbrage.

“PCL Construction does not agree with OSHA’s decision to issue this citation and will be contesting the citation,” a PCL spokesman responded by email to the Miami Herald. “Creating a safe and healthy work environment is paramount to our organization, as well as a guiding principle for PCL.”

In the last five years, PCL has a clean record in Florida and been fined twice for $6,875 nationally.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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