Federal authorities have cited a Philadelphia construction company and contractor for numerous safety violations in connection with the June 5 collapse of a four-story building undergoing demolition that killed six people and injured 14 others in an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Griffin Campbell, doing business as Campbell Construction, and Sean Benschop, doing business as S&R Contracting, “sacrificed worker and public safety through the deliberate neglect of demolition safety fundamentals.”
The deadly building collapse has triggered a series of personal-injury and wrongful-death lawsuits while casting light on Philadelphia’s construction codes and oversight, often criticized for prioritizing profits over safety.
In its own investigation of the collapse, OSHA found several violations of federal demolition standards. In one case, 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, contrary to OSHA’s demolition standards. Additionally, the construction company failed to provide an engineering survey as it was obligated to do. All of the alleged infractions occurred in the three days leading up to the collapse, OSHA said.
As a result, OSHA cited Campbell Construction for three willful, egregious violations for each day that it left the wall without sufficient lateral support, and two willful violations for failing to demolish the building from the top down and to have an engineering survey calculating collapse risk completed by a competent individual prior to starting the demolition.
OSHA also cited Campbell Construction for a number of serious violations stemming from its failure to provide employees with hard hats amid work where head injury was a serious risk; for failing to provide proper fall protection and worker training on fall hazards; and for not protecting its workers with fall-arrest systems. OSHA proposed penalties of $313,000 for Campbell Construction’s violations.
S&R Contracting was cited for one willful violation and two serious violations for failing to protect workers from falling through holes and not providing fall hazard training, with total proposed penalties amounting to $84,000.