Companies fined over death at convention center site

November 5, 2009

The Indiana Department of Labor has completed its investigation into the death of a construction worker at the expansion site of the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis and fined four local companies a total of $31,000 for safety violations.

Stanley Roberts, 55, an iron worker with Indianapolis-based Harmon Steel, fell five stories to his death in June while working on the convention center expansion project at Capital Avenue and Georgia Street downtown.

Harmon Steel was fined $10,000 for failing to provide any warning system, such as a barricade, hand signals or stop logs, to prevent the lift in which Roberts was working from falling into an excavation area.

Ermco Inc. and F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co. Inc. each were fined $9,000 for two violations that involved not adequately marking or covering the hole. 

And Far West Construction Inc. was fined $3,000, also for not marking or covering the hole.

The companies have 15 days to either accept or contest the violations in front of an administrative judge.

The division conducts about 2,000 inspections per year and issues a few hundred safety orders. It is on track to issue $1.3 million in fines this year, most in the range of about $5,000 each. The largest fines in 2007 and 2008 were $179,000 and $189,000, respectively.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 132 Hoosiers died last year in workplace accidents in what was the second safest year on record. This year, even fewer accidents have been reported.



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