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OSHA hits Philadelphia construction firms with $400K in safety fines

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Two Philadelphia-based construction contractors are facing nearly $400,000 in federal fines for safety violations that led to a fatal building collapse earlier this year.

Griffin Campbell and Sean Benschop — doing business as Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting, respectively — were cited Thursday for a total of 12 worksite safety violations in connection with a June 5 building collapse that left six people dead and 14 more injured in a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The citations, nine of which applied to Campbell Construction, include several willful and serious violations of federal demolition standards.

“Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting sacrificed worker and public safety through the deliberate neglect of demolition safety fundamentals,” David Michaels, the U.S. Labor Department's assistant secretary for occupational safety and health, said in a statement released Thursday. "This tragic incident could and should have been prevented.”

OSHA has proposed fines totaling $313,000 for Campbell Construction and $84,000 for S&R Contracting.

Following the collapse, OSHA inspectors discovered that Campbell Construction had illegally removed critical structural supports for the exterior wall of the four-story building it and S&R Contracting were tearing down on the 2100 block of Market Street, at the western edge of Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood.

Inspectors also discovered that Campbell Construction had illegally removed portions of the building’s lower floors prior to completing demolition of the upper floors, and that it failed to provide workers onsite with hard hats and fall protection equipment.

Additionally, inspectors determined that S&R Contracting failed to provide its workers with fall protection equipment and training.