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Construction death could cost Gainesville company $54,950

POSTED: February 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hartley Construction Co. of Gainesville following a fatality in August 2007 at a church construction site in Ellijay.

The citations for one willful and two serious safety violations carry proposed penalties of $54,950.

"This needless death occurred because the contractor put speed ahead of safety," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office.

Dan Hartley, president of Hartley Construction Co., declined to comment about the citations, stating only that his company had received notice of the citations and planned to review them and meet with OSHA. Hartley did note his company had a long history of safety.

OSHA has cited Hartley Construction for one willful safety violation, with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for not properly bracing the roof trusses. The fatality happened when the trusses collapsed, causing one employee to fall to his death.

Citations for two serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $5,950, also have been issued against the company for not providing fall protection to its employees and storing roof trusses on the ground, exposing the material to moisture that could compromise its structural integrity.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued when death or serious harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area office.



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