Horseshoe Casino job site still closed

OSHA probing case of Friday collapse

CINCINNATI - Members of a Cincinnati City Council sub-committee will learn more details Tuesday about the collapse at Horseshoe Casino Friday, which injured 13 construction workers.

Cincinnati Building Inspectors are began meeting with members of City Council's Sub-Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at 10:30 a.m. to talk about the collapse.

There is no word from Messer Construction when work will resume on Horseshoe Casino downtown.

The job site for the $400 million project was shut down Friday after a structural collapse injured 13 employees of Jostin Concrete Construction, Inc.

One worker remains in serious condition at Bethesda North Hospital in Montgomery.

Investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) scoured the structural steel at the collapse site Monday.  They looked for clues on why a beam gave way during a concrete pour causing a 60-by-60-foot section of the casino's second floor to collapse, sending the workers sliding over steel decking and through wet concrete 30 feet to the ground.

OSHA has cordoned off the accident area.  Spokesperson Scott Allen said it's up to Messer to determine when to let crews resume construction on other parts of the project.

No cause has been determined.

John Morris, President of the Ohio Valley Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (ABC), said he thinks the collapse was a "fluke accident."

"I'm not a structural engineer, but I've had many members of our company call us up and say they think it might have been a structural steel problem," he said. "Something failed in the process, but I don't think the process was flawed."

ABC represents 300 contractors in Ohio and Kentucky, including Messer Construction.

Morris agreed with Messer officials that the company is not sacrificing safety to get the casino built and opened by spring of 2013.

"Messer Construction is an outstanding firm," he said.  "They first and foremost lead all their projects on the quality and safety of their employees.  They're never going to sacrifice their employees for the sake of a time line."

Last October, Messer and OSHA officials signed an agreement that in essence lets Messer police itself on safety issues.  The voluntary protection program is only offered to firms to exemplary safety records.

Until Friday, Messer had logged 150,000 hours of safe work with the only problem being an employee with a heat-related issue.

"Voluntary policing actually increases the amount of exposure they have to OSHA," said Morris.  "You're setting yourselves to a higher standard and you're welcoming OSHA at any time. "

Morris said he feels the accident will make a safe project even safer once work resumes.

"They're going to double their efforts.  They're going to look at all the drawings.  They're going to look at all the engineering," he said.  "They're going to look at all the safety protocols to make sure that there are no further accidents or injuries and that this project is built safely."

Cincinnati's Fire and Police Departments won praise Monday from Mayor Mark Mallory for their work during Friday's incident.

The Mayor called their response "textbook" in nature and offered his congratulations.

"There was a challenging rescue.  There was a muddy site.  There were temporary bridges," he said.  "There were a lot of obstacles, but the fire department and police department did a fantastic job."

Mayor Mallory said it sends a message to citizens that the city is ready to handle any and all situations.

"This should give people comfort that in times of emergency our public safety team is ready."

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