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.