OSHA Issues Citations Against Contractor for Violations at State College Demolition Site Where Worker Fell to His Death

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An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found a contractor violated federal workplace safety standards at a demolition site in State College where a worker died last summer.

The investigation stemmed from the death of Joshua Farkas, of Maryland, on July 7. The 42-year-old was working for ISI Demolition, of White Marsh, Maryland, at the former Days Inn Penn State building at 240 S. Pugh St. when he fell five stories at about 4:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Centre County Coroner’s Office, which ruled the death accidental and concluded he died of blunt force head trauma sustained in the faOSHA investigators discovered two serious violations by Maryland-based ISI Demolition and proposed a fine of $14,502, according to the citations and notifications of penalty received by the company on Jan. 3.

ISI did not perform an engineering survey to determine the conditions of the framing floors and walls and the possibility of unplanned collapse of any portion of the structure prior to permitting employees to start demolition operations, according to the citation. ll.
“The employer did not have the as built drawings for the building and did not know the extent or the condition of the structural integrity of the building before work started, exposing employees to caught in, struck by and fall hazards,” investigators wrote.

Workers on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the building also were exposed to fall hazards from a wall opening that was not protected to a height of 42 inches or the use of alternative fall protection measures, according to the citation.
ISI has until Jan. 23 to contest the citations.

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