Demolition Project in Tom’s River Strip Mall Results in Death of One and OSHA Investigation
A roof collapse during a strip demolition project in Ocean County, New Jersey has left one individual dead. The site of the building collapse, which caused the death of Raymond Crosby, was the former scene of the Berkeley Township Shopping Center situated near State Route 9. Though the causes of the collapse are still being determined, authorities from the Prosecutor’s Office in Ocean County have confirmed that during an ongoing demolition project at the site, the 52-year old was killed following the partial collapse of the building’s roof. Emergency responders to the scene, which arrived following a call from the demolition project foreman at the Beachwood Plaza complex, found Raymond Crosby of Keansburg in the rubble nearly 50 minutes after the collapse was first reported at the Edgewood Properties-owned strip mall. The property itself, long-abandoned, was already rather dilapidated and unusable in any commercial or residential sense, thus necessitating the demolition of the site per the judgement of Edgewood Properties owners.
Given the nature of the death in the course of employment, and in light of clearly unsafe and structurally unsound demolition efforts, Occupational Safety and Health Administration federal officials are conducting an ongoing investigation into the workplace death. Findings of violations of OSHA codes in this building collapse in Edgewood, New Jersey will likely result in OSHA fines being levied against responsible parties, who may also be held liable for the death of the demolition worker.
Given the already precarious nature of demolition work, industry standards concerning the safety of workers during the course of such employment are high and enforceable by a number of regulatory agencies, most notably OSHA. Moreover, contracted companies conducting demolition work are entitled to a litany of information from property owners prior to any demolition project, which assists with project managers informing both themselves and workers of the appropriate and safest routes to demolition. Should either the demolition company, or the current property owners be found in violation of OSHA codes and regulations, either party could be subject to fines and penalties from the federal government. Likewise, findings of violations of OSHA standards, as well as violations of standard industry safety practices regarding demolition projects, could result in the filing of wrongful death claims against potentially liable parties by family members and loved ones of Mr. Crosby.