OSHA Cites Contractor Demolishing Former Clearfield Area Middle School

(GANT News File photo)

CLEARFIELD – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition of Tyrone for violations at the site of the demolition of the former Clearfield Area Middle School.

Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition is a construction company providing turn-key site development services to Warriors Mark, State College, Boalsburg, Huntingdon, Tyrone, Philipsburg and Clearfield areas.

The company is bonded and insured and also holds a demolition license to perform house/building demolition, grading, excavating, highway construction and public utilities, states the “About” section on its business Facebook page.

According to Joanna Hawkins, public affairs officer for OSHA, a “concerned member of the public” called OSHA’s Erie area office to report workers in potentially dangerous situations at the school.  A member of the public also submitted a photograph to OSHA of a tractor being driven on the roof of the school near the roof’s edge.

She said an OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) subsequently conducted an inspection of Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition workers who were demolishing the former middle school.Hawkins said that the officer obtained photographs of the hazardous conditions, conducted employee interviews and interviewed the employer representative at the site. Citations were issued to the company Feb. 17 for:

  • lack of an engineering survey for the demolition work;
  • working on surfaces, which were not evaluated as to their suitability to sustain the load of personnel and equipment on the roof;
  • lack of fall protection for employees on the roof;
  • lack of falling object protection and lack of fall protection training;
  • failure to protect mechanical equipment from driving over the edge of the roof; and
  • failure to use chutes for trash and debris thrown off the roof.

OSHA’s online summary shows that the company was penalized for four “serious” violations in the amount of $10,322.

Hawkins explained that: “OSHA citation policy allows an area director to group separate violations into a single grouped violation with a single penalty when a source of an identified hazard involves interrelated violations of OSHA standards. 

“Some of the violations for this inspection were grouped together. OSHA does require the employer to correct each individual citation item, whether grouped or issued separately.”

Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

According to previously published reports, the Clearfield Area School District approved closing the former middle school in 2013. The district consolidated its classrooms into the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School and Clearfield Area Elementary School in 2014-15.

The district conducted a public auction of the contents of the former middle school in 2015. In December, it approved hiring Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition for asbestos removal and the demolition of the former middle school for $628,990.

Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition was approved out of 16 submitted bids. The bid was for $280,000 for asbestos removal and $348,990 for the demolition.  The district had budgeted $850,000 for the project.

“… We do not have any employees involved in the demolition of the building, as it was contracted out,” said Superintendent Terry Struble in e-mail correspondence with GANT News.

“I am sure that they [Natalie’s Excavation & Demolition], as a contractor, will take the appropriate steps to insure their employees’ safety.”

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