$2.5M Settlement After Equipment Mechanic Killed in Building Collapse
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on September 7th, 2018
The family of a 52-year-old New Jersey heavy equipment mechanic has reached a $2.5 million settlement with two development and construction companies after the man was killed when a building collapsed on him at a building demolition site.
The worker, Raymond Crosby, arrived at the demolition site of the Beachwood Shopping Plaza to repair a piece of equipment on Sept. 24, 2015, when he was asked to go inside the site to cut several support columns, according to an Aug. 11 story in The Asbury Park Press. When he cut the support columns as requested, the roof of the building collapsed on top of him.
Crosby, of Keansburg, had been sent in to cut the supports inside the old Woolworth building at the shopping plaza by a representative of E.P. Equipment LLC, according to the lawsuit. The building is on Route 9 in Berkeley, N.J.
He had no prior experience nor training in demolition work but was asked to perform the work E.P. Equipment “was concerned its own heavy demolition equipment would not be supported by the floor of the Woolworth building and could crash through to the basement,” the story reported.
Berkeley Redevelopers LLC, which was redeveloping the Beachwood Plaza property, had hired E.P. Equipment for the demolition work, the story reported. Crosby was an employee of Edgewood Properties LLC.
The building had previously been deemed too dangerous for workers to enter it, according to the plaintiff’s attorney. In addition, Berkeley Redevelopers and E.P. Equipment never had the Woolworth building evaluated by a qualified demolition engineer to assess the stability of the building and to plan the demolition properly, the attorney added.
The work site was shut down in 2016 after the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a report on the accident, the story reported. OSHA found a number of violations at the work site, including a lack of worker training for potential hazards such as collapses, the lack of an engineering survey to determine the condition of the buildings that were being demolished and a lack of lateral bracing on standing walls around the work site.
The OSHA report also determined that the cutting of the support columns in the Woolworth building resulted in the collapse and that continuing inspections of the work site were not performed during demolition to make sure there were no hazards to employees.
Crosby’s family filed a wrongful death against both companies in connection with his death.
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