OSHA Issues $38K Penalties in Florida Garage Collapse

By: Associated Press; julie.montanaro@wctv.tv Email
By: Associated Press; julie.montanaro@wctv.tv Email

Statement from Ajax Spokesperson: Alia Faraj w/Sachs Media Group

"The OSHA review of the October 2012 construction accident is still underway. Ajax continues to actively cooperate with OSHA in its review through the informal conference process, and out of respect for that process we will reserve any comment until the review is concluded."


Associated Press Release

MIAMI (AP) -- Federal safety regulators have penalized five contracting companies more than $38,000 combined for errors that caused last October's collapse of a college parking garage that killed four workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations released Wednesday found evidence of missing welds and grout, failure to properly brace columns and failure to inspect the structure as required. OSHA also said contractors didn't follow project drawings.

The five-story, $20 million garage at Miami Dade College's west campus collapsed Oct. 10. The OSHA violations were labeled as serious, which under federal law translates to a maximum $7,000 penalty.

Families of the workers killed in the collapse have also filed lawsuits that could cost the contractors much more.

OSHA set an April 25 deadline for the problems to be fixed.


Miami, FL, December 3, 2012 - The family of a construction worker who was killed after a parking garage collapsed at Miami Dade College has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the construction company and several contractors.

In the lawsuit filed today, Migdalia Lopez said her 53-year-old husband Samuel Perez was driving a cement truck when part of the five-story garage collapsed in early October.

Rescuers had to amputate his leg to remove him. He later died at the hospital.

The family of Robert Budhoo, who also died in the accident and was the last victim pulled from the rubble, has ALSO filed a lawsuit.


Miami, FL, October 16, 2012 - Authorities have located the body of a fourth victim in the rubble of a Florida college parking garage that partially collapsed last week.

Miami-Dade County police said Monday the man's body is deep in the unstable rubble and may take several days to remove.

Investigators believe the body is that of missing 53-year-old electrician Robert Budhoo. But they also say positive identification can't be done until the body is removed.

Three other workers were killed when part of the five-story garage collapsed last week at Miami Dade College's west campus. No students were injured and the garage was not yet open. Authorities have not yet determined what caused the collapse.

The campus is closed and students are attending classes at temporary locations.


Previous Story, October 11, 2012 - Three people are now dead in the collapse of a parking garage at Miami Dade College.

Tallahassee-based Ajax Building Corporation is the lead contractor on that job.

We caught up with the company's vice president as he boarded a plane for Miami.

The parking garage at Miami-Dade College was set to be finished in December. Wednesday it collapsed. Three construction workers were killed and crews are still looking through the rubble for a fourth man.

"I pray that they will find my husband, because I need him. I need him," said Laurel Budhoo, whose husband Robert is still missing.

"We don't know what caused the accident. Anything else would be speculation on my part," Ajax Building Company President Bill Byrne said at a press conference in Miami Thursday. "I am just deeply saddened this event has happened and that there were people injured and have died."

"It was a major shock. Right now we're just trying to be with all the families down there that have been affected," said Ajax Vice President Jay Smith. We caught up with Smith in Tallahassee as he boarded a plane for Miami.

"Our focus again is on the rescue effort. That's the most important thing we can do at this point. Once we support them and grieve with them we'll get into the who, what, when. where. why," Smith said.

"We are committed to working diligently with our design and construction partners, as well local, state and federal authorities to determine the exact cause of this accident," Byrne said.
"We will conduct a thorough and transparent review with all of our partners, including Miami Dade College, Harvard Jolly, Coreslab and our other subcontractor partners."

Smith says there were no red flags in any previous inspections on the $22.5 million parking garage. Smith says they've built four more like it in the state of Florida.

"You've been in business for more than 50 years has anything like this ever happened on one of your sites?"

"Never. Never in our history," Smith said.

Ajax is perhaps best known for building schools.

Its biggest project underway in Tallahassee right now is a $29 million public safety complex at Tom Brown Park.

Ajax has built schools in Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla counties as well as buildings on both the FSU and FAMU campus.


MIAMI (AP) -- Miami-Dade police say a third person has died following the collapse of a parking garage at Miami Dade College.

The latest victim was pulled from the rubble early Thursday, some 13 hours after the five-story structure fell, creating a pancake-like collapse.

Police spokesman Javier Baez says the man died at a Miami trauma center.

Baez says the mission has now turned to a recovery effort and they're expecting to find another body in the rubble.

The parking garage was under construction at the campus in west Miami-Dade County. Witnesses say workers ran screaming from the garage as it fell around noon Wednesday.

Baez says multiple people were taken to the hospital following the collapse. No names have been released.



Previous Story, Miami, FL, October 11, 2012 - Representatives from AJAX Building Corporation and other companies working on the parking garage will make a statement and answer questions at an 11am press conference in Miami.


Miami, FL- Two people are dead after a five story parking garage in Miami Dade collapsed trapping several workers in the rubble. A Tallahassee construction company is in charge of the project.

The multi-story garage is being built at the Miami-dDade college campus in the western part of the county. Miami-Dade fire rescue officials said some workers could be heard calling for help inside the debris.

Several workers were treated by paramedics at the scene. No students were in the area at the time of the collapse.

Ajax building corporation extended its sympathies to the families of the workers, and says it's working to find out why the garage collapsed.


Miami, FL - October 10, 2012 - Statement of William P. Byrne, President/CEO, Ajax Building Corporation

Re: Accident at Miami-Dade College West Campus

“Ajax Building Corporation extends our deepest sympathies and prayers to the families of our colleague who died, our colleagues currently being rescued and others injured in today's accident at our construction job site for the new parking garage at Miami-Dade College West Campus in Doral, Florida. While we do not yet know the cause of this tragic collapse, we are committed to working actively and cooperatively with our design and construction partners and local, state and federal authorities to determine the exact cause of this accident. We also intend to conduct an internal review with our partners, Harvard Jolly and Coreslab."

“At this time, we are properly focused on the tragic loss of a life and the well being of anyone injured, and on helping the families involved."

“Safety on the job site is the overarching priority of Ajax all through the company’s 54-year history. Even as we work to determine the cause of this accident, we are committed to embracing any additional protocols, policies and procedures that will enhance and ensure the continued priority of safety.”

For information about the Miami Dade College West Campus project visit:

http://www.ajaxbuilding.com/current_projects_miamidadepg.html


Miami, FL - October 12, 2012 - Part of a five story parking garage in Miami-Dade has collapsed with several workers trapped in the rubble.

The multi-story garage - currently under construction - is being built at the Miami-Dade college campus in the western part of the county.

Miami-Dade fire rescue officials say some workers could be heard calling for help inside the debris.

Several workers were treated by paramedics at the scene.

Officials say no students were in the area at the time of the collapse.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 173614441 - wctv.tv/a?a=173614441