Arena Contractor Likely to be Cited

Officials with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are meeting today with executives from the downtown arena’s general contractor, Mortenson Construction, and Wilhelm Construction, the subcontractor blamed for the April 27 mishap on the site.

The meeting is expected to set the groundwork for a final report on the concrete accident, and Wilhelm will receive at least one serious citation from OSHA, according to a source familiar with the project. In most cases, OSHA citations also result in fines.

The “serious” designation is the least serious of the three types of citations leveled by OSHA — the others are “willful” and for repeated “willful” infractions.

The meeting comes on the heels of activity at the site reported yesterday by Joe Arnold of WHAS-TV, which included documentation of an on-site meeting of all construction personnel about safety on the site.  Mortenson also released a detailed letter, sent to Arena Authority chair Jim Host, about the safety meeting.

In it, Mortenson cited the media attention as a distraction and a “safety issue in and of itself.”

Really? So the construction managers think it would be safer at the site if the media weren’t covering their mistakes?

A section of the letter dealt primarily with options for workers to report safety concerns. Unsaid, but obvious, was the suggestion that workers NOT take their safety concerns to media. One worker who did just that, Charlie Molen, was laid off shortly after appearing in a WHAS-TV report.

It is not certain when OSHA will release the results of its investigation to the media.

2 thoughts on “Arena Contractor Likely to be Cited

  1. The people running this arena project have the scruples of an alley cat. Where else can you basically approve an arena without any sort of public input or even a vote to determine if people want to pay for this monstrosity. Furthermore, I have to question what do these people have to hide regarding safety violations. Do they not care that the public is the one footing the bill for all aspects of the arena including the building and construction and wages for the workers and safety.

    I have to wonder why these people feel some need to hide the facts from people and put their workers at risk for their unlawful actions and not following work rules. Those rules are put into place to make for a safe working environment. It was done to prevent as much as could be done injuries or even death.

    For the general contractor and concrete contractor to try to hide this along with the Arena Authority is something else. Not to mention the involvement of the carpetbagger Jim Host being here to oversee this project. Shouldn’t this project be overseen by someone in the local community versus someone who lives 70 miles away. Why is it that we have to get some guy from Lexington to oversee a project from Louisville. Kind of like one has to question how many local workers actually got jobs through this project. Many unanswered questions and many things that need to be discussed.

  2. no need to find a conspiracy behind every action. “unsaid, but obvious…” is a witchhunt and reporting safety violations to the company first IS the right way to go about things because the company needs to know and correct them. safety is the job of every worker because a company can’t have eyes on everything all the time.

    and it’s a common rule on any construction site that workers shouldn’t be conversant (‘fraternize’ is the word used in job meetings) with people hanging around – media included.

    mortenson, up until this event, has had a clean safety record for years. safety is a huge issue in any construction company of their size – not something any of them take lightly.

    question the arena planning and decision-making if you want. that’s political. but a construction accident is not political and it has little to do with the decision makers. these guys have a job to do.

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