Company Fined Over MIOSHA Violations in Worker Death

The state of Michigan has fined Beal Construction Services $35,000 in relation to the conditions at Thompson Block in Ypsilanti, the site where worker Jeremy “Jake” Burd was killed May 11 in a floor collapse.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) issued five citations to Beal Construction for what it deemed “serious” violations of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.

A “serious” violation is determined if there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The five citations describe a construction site that was not properly prepared, inspected or cleared including during the time when Burd was killed. The citation and notification of penalty does not say if the violations were found immediately after Burd’s death or not.

Each of the five citations carries a $7,000 fine, the maximum penalty for a violation that isn’t “willful.” The citations were issued on Sept. 30, following an investigation that started May 11 and ended Aug. 10.

Neil Miller, the lawyer representing Burd’s family, said the citations show that Beal Construction was at fault and that Burd’s death could have been avoided.

“The MIOSHA citations indicate a total failure top to bottom of management responsibility by the Thompson Block team,'” Miller said. “From the general partner of the Thompson Block project, Stewart Beal, to Stewart Beal as owner of Beal Construction Services and by JC Beal Construction and its principals as construction managers.

Burd was killed when the first floor of the 154-year-old Thompson Block building collapsed on top of him when he was working in the basement. Burd and other members of the construction crew were clearing wood from the bay in the basement that was going to be used to build a ramp for an excavator to get to the basement.

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