OSHA Investigates Two Deaths at Construction Site

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating two deaths over the last month at a Fayetteville apartment construction site.

OSHA has six months to investigate the incidents.

Hank Wilson, project manager for Parkcrest Builders, based in Houston, said the two people killed at The VUE Apartments construction site worked for two different subcontractors.

“OSHA is on their way out here I think in the next couple of days to do their investigation, we feel strongly that they won`t find any negligence on anyone`s part, it was just an unfortunate accident,” said Wilson.

Sunday (May 9)  44-year-old Jess Wilson of Joplin was installing siding on a boom lift when police say he struck his head on a high voltage power line, which killed him.

Officials say three other workers were injured but have been released from the hospital.

“I think it`s a 160,000 volts, each line is 80,000 and it will jump.  What I`ve been told is the safe working distance around that line is 30 feet, “said Harley Hunt, Fayetteville Fire Marshal.

“We still don`t know why he was boomed up as high as he was as far as away from the building as he was we`ve had 8 to 10 man lifts in this area for three weeks now with no issues,” added Wilson.

The site was shut down in April for some fire code violations that were not met in regards to fire access and the require water that’s supposed to be on site, according to Hunt.

“It was shut down back in April for some fire code requirements that weren`t met in regards to fire access and the required water that`s supposed to be on site,” said Hunt.

A month ago, 20-year-old Brannon Rhine died on the site after he jumped in a trench when equipment struck a sewer line, and the hole collapsed around him.

Wilson said they have weekly safety meetings, and OSHA is still investigating the May 5th incident.

“We have a Tuesday meeting and we`ll have it tomorrow and I`m sure by now everyone knows what happened and if that doesn`t wake them up, I don`t know what will,” said Wilson.

Carroll Vanhooke, leasing marketing manager for The VUE Apartments says they’ve worked with Parkcrest Builders for years and are a reputable company.

“We are so shocked to hear of what happened, campus apartments is not any way affiliated with the ownership or construction of the property,” said Vanhooke.
The company is not affiliated with the University of Arkansas.