Collapsed building contractor was fined for impaled worker incident

People walk past bent steel at a construction site where an athletic practice facility on the Bryant University campus collapsed Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Smithfield, R.I. Workers were installing steel beams on a new indoor practice facility around 8:15 a.m. when the beams collapsed, university spokeswoman Elizabeth O’Neil said. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

SMITHFIELD, RI (WPRI) — One of the construction companies working on the now collapsed metal frame of a Bryant University athletic facility was recently fined for a construction site fall that left a Massachusetts man impaled on a metal bar, Target 12 has learned.

Six workers were hospitalized when the 30-foot tall shell crumbled to the ground on Bryant’s campus on Tuesday morning. According to the Smithfield Fire Department, none of the injuries are life threatening. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the collapse, along with the fire department.

This was not the first accident in recent months involving Barnes Buildings and Management Group, which is a sub-contractor on the Smithfield project. OSHA inspection reports state the company was fined $3,080 in May for an incident that occurred on March 7 in Rochester, Massachusetts.

According to the Rochester Fire Department, a 62-year-old worker was impaled after he fell on a four-foot length of re-bar. He was seriously injured and transported by helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital. The OSHA inspection report indicates the violation is “under contest.” The man’s name was not released and his current condition is unavailable.

Barnes Buildings and Management Group has been fined three times in the past five years according to OSHA, including one case at an East Providence construction site on Aug. 26, 2010. The company was fined $750 for that violation, but details of what happened are not available.

The Bryant University project is being managed by Connecticut based A Z Corporation. That company owns an engineering and fabrication facility in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. A Z Corporation is also currently managing a $40 million project at Electric Boat in Quonset, where a 150,000 square building is under construction. And according to the A Z Corporation website, the company has done some work with the Rhode Island Department of Administration.

Four inspection reports involving A Z Corporation, dating back to 2007, are part of OSHA’s database, but none of the cases led to violations. A Z Corporation has not returned requests for comment.

OSHA spokesperson Edmund Fitzgerald told Target 12 two inspectors from the federal agency were sent to the Smithfield scene today.

“The inspection will seek to determine if there were any violations of workplace safety standards in connection with this incident,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald did not say how long the government’s investigation would take.

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