KILN, Miss. - OSHA cited Great Southern Building Systems in a restaurant remodeling accident that killed a general contractor. The project's original flooring plans called for a wood floor, but the contractors did not get new engineering plans for a concrete floor, using designs that could not support the weight of the concrete.

On Sept. 8, 2015, OSHA reports, as workers poured concrete above, 54-year-old contractor Gary Berthelot and three workers employed by Great Southern Building Systems were placing additional supports beneath the concrete floor form when it collapsed. Falling concrete and other debris struck and trapped the father of four, who had 30 years of construction experience and was the project's general contractor. The other worker escaped the collapse as they rebuilt a local restaurant damaged by Hurricane Isaac.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration later found the project's original flooring plans called for a wood floor, but the contractors did not get new engineering plans for a concrete floor and used designs that could not support the weight of the concrete.

OSHA cited Berthelot Design Systems and subcontractor, Great Southern Building Systems LLC, doing business as Bayou Steel Fabricators Inc., for safety violations related to the collapse. The agency waived the citations and penalties against Berthelot, as he was the company's only employee. The agency issued citations to Great Southern Building Systems, LLC on March 2, 2016 for one willful and two serious safety violations.

"Great Southern Building Systems, LLC failed in its responsibility to protect its employees, despite being warned that the floor was unstable," said Eugene Stewart, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office. "This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer obtained new engineering plans and followed the requirements."

OSHA issued one willful citation for exposing workers to being struck-by material, because the concrete formwork was not built to handle the load on it.
Great Southern Building Systems, LLC received serious citations for not installing formwork to support the concrete floor as it was poured and not having engineering plans for the concrete floor onsite.

Based in Pearl River Louisiana, Great Southern Building Systems, LLC now has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Proposed penalties total $79,800. Source: www.osha.gov.

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