A fatal construction accident at a casino site in Pleasantville, New Jersey was followed by an inspection from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), according to sources. The contractor, Networks Construction, was working on a site at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City in September of 2011 when 40-year-old construction worker Bryan Bradley died after he was struck by lightning.
OSHA cited Network Construction for safety violations. According to reports, on September 15, 2011, a local storm warning was issued in the area surrounding the construction site. OSHA cited the contractor for failure to implement secure equipment in the stormy conditions. The violation is classified as serious, and OSHA fined the company $3,000.
“I appreciate they [OSHA] did their job and they did it well, and they found an outcome that was obvious to everyone in town: The jobsite should have been closed down,” said Butch Bradley, the victim’s brother. “You know, you’re talking about $3,000 and my brother’s life. What’s the difference between $100 and $3,000? Why don’t you just give me a $50 Wawa gift certificate as a fine?”
Butch is right to be upset by the seemingly minor fine, although the victim’s family may be entitled to punitive damages because the contractor was negligent. Bradley and another worker were pouring concrete on a roof deck next to a crane as the storm rolled in.
“Nearly a half-hour earlier, a Special Weather Statement was issued by the National Weather Service warning of strong thunderstorms in the area,” read the OSHA statement.
According to reports, seven workers were exposed to the lightning. This is unacceptable; employers have a duty to protect their workers from obvious dangers such as this.
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