$400,000 fines proposed in fatal Philly building collapse officials say was avoidable

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two contractors in connection with the Philadelphia building collapse that killed six people.  Dismantling one building could have been accomplished without crushing the thrift store next door, OSHA has determined.

Griffin Campbell, the owner of Campbell Construction, and Sean Benschop, who did business as S&R Contracting, both were cited for violations Thursday.

Campbell Construction was cited for everything from not providing hard hats for workers to removing lateral support walls to failing to do an engineering study before beginning demolition.

S&R was cited for not bracing walls that could have crushed demolition workers and for failing to train workers properly. David Michaels of OSHA says this was an avoidable tragedy. “If the two employers that OSHA has cited had followed very basic and obvious safety precautions, six people who were killed on June 5, 2013, would be alive today,” Michaels said. Robert Mongeluzzi, who represents the families of two who died in the collapse and another six people who were injured, said all the parties involved — including the Salvation Army, which owned the thrift store — were aware of the problems. “They received a report, indicating their own building, the Salvation Army building, was structurally deficient,” he said. “They received electronic e-mails back and forth warning of an uncontrolled collapse, of danger to life and limb. There is testimony in the OSHA investigation by Salvation Army employees where they had discussed the roof falling in.” OSHA has proposed penalties of $313,000 for Campbell Construction and $84,000 for S&R Contracting for what officials call a willful disregard of safety standards.  OSHA plans to draw up an agreement with the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections to beef up enforcement of demolition sites in the city.

A representative of the Salvation Army was not immediately available for comment.

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