Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Workers Killed at Downtown St. Louis Construction Site Were Using Lift for First Time after Installation

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Workers Killed at Downtown St. Louis Construction Site Were Using Lift for First Time after Installation

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - Two men who fell to their deaths at a downtown construction site Monday were union members using a piece of equipment for the first time since its installation when it failed, according to the company that hired them.

The men, ages 44 and 58, were working from a basket suspended by a cable operated by a hoist inside an elevator shaft in the building at 1501 Washington Avenue when the cable failed, according to a statement from GenCorp Services. The St. Louis-based company provides demolition, cleanup and clear-out services.

Both men worked for World Wrecking, had more than 20 years of experience and were trained for their jobs, according to the statement.

GenCorp, which hired World Wrecking contractors, said the basket and cable were installed and inspected by Safway Group, "an internationally respected engineering company that used union employees for the installation," according to the statement.

Milwaukee-based developer Fe Equus is turning the building, built in 1909, into a hotel called the Last. It is projected to open around March 2019.

The workers who died Monday have not been identified. After the incident, union representatives said they had been raising concerns about GenCorp's practices for some time. They said the company doesn't hire union labor, has insufficient training and safety procedures and underbids contractors that use union labor by several hundred thousand dollars. A complaint with OSHA against GenCorp in February related to health concerns remains open, according to the Department of Labor website.

The GenCorp statement emphasizes that the workers killed were union members and that the equipment that apparently failed was installed by a company that hires union workers.

Weeks before Monday's accident, union representatives raised concerns about GenCorp's practices with a Post-Dispatch reporter. …

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