WI – OSHA fines Fox Theater subcontractor for electrical hazards, lack of demolition plans

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STEVENS POINT – Federal inspectors found multiple safety violations by a Kenosha-based subcontractor at the Fox Theater demolition site in February, according to citations issued to the company. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Recyclean, a demolition company, in March totaling $5,205 after observing electrical hazards and a lack of proper demolition plans on Feb. 5, which the company said in a statement it immediately fixed.

Recyclean worked as a subcontractor on the Fox Theater demolition and specializes in sustainable deconstruction and recycling of building materials, particularly those from historic properties. Urban Evolutions of Appleton served as the primary contractor on the project as contracted by Stevens Point.

The 126-year-old theater in downtown Stevens Point closed permanently in April 1986 and remained unused for decades despite efforts to reopen the building as a theater, performance space or a business incubator. The city took control of the building in late 2019 and tore down the back two-thirds with the goal of using the land and the remaining facade to attract a developer to build on the property.
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Recyclean failed to use a ground fault circuit interrupter, a type of circuit breaker meant to protect against ground faults, when workers used extensions cords to power equipment, according to the citation. OSHA inspectors said they saw extension cords missing ground pins that workers used on lifting equipment and that other cords were not protected against sharp objects.
OSHA observed that the Kenosha company started demolition work before it had developed a demolition plan, which should include an engineering survey of the building’s condition and the possibility of unplanned collapses, according to the citation. The company said in a statement that it had not properly posted its plans at the site.

“These issues were immediately corrected and our employees will continue to practice industry leading safety standards in the growing deconstruction field,” according to a statement from Recyclean. The final outcome of the case is pending corrective action on the violations, according to OSHA’s inspection database.

OSHA inspectors visited the Fox Theater demolition site in February as part of a planned inspection that observed the hazards affecting five workers, according to the citations. The visit from federal inspectors was not complaint-based and Recyclean was not given advanced notice, according to OSHA’s inspection database.
OSHA last fined the Kenosha company in 2014 for issues related to aerial lifts and asbestos abatement, which resulted in Recyclean paying $2,800 and $4,400 respectively in informal settlements with the regulatory agency.

Contact reporter Alan Hovorka at 715-345-2252 or ahovorka@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ajhovorka.

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