By Justin Zaremba | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
updated October 21, 2016 at 11:17 AM
HANOVER, NJ — A Sussex-based company was recently fined by federal labor authorities in connection with a fatal accident at the new Hanover firehouse this past February in which two workers were killed by a falling five-ton generator.
Joseph Donahue, 25, of Montague, was pronounced dead at the scene after a strap gave way on Feb. 18 and a generator being hoisted by a crane fell on him and Robert Derkacs, Jr., 45, of Vernon. Derkacs was taken to Morristown Medical Center where he died from his injuries hours later.
IP&E Rigging, a non-union company, was fined $9,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two violations for allegedly failing to properly instruct employees and failing to ensure the materials being hoisted were rigged to prevent unintentional displacement.
The company, which is also known as Industrial Process and Equipment, was initially fined $14,000, but, after it contested the violations, an informal settlement reduced the fine to $9,000.
IP&E Rigging owner John Stearns told NJ Advance Media Friday morning the accident was a "terrible tragedy" for the families of both men. The accident, Stearns said, was especially personal because Donohue was married to his daughter.
Stearns, however, disputed OSHA's violations and said he'd settled the matter "so that the families of those that were lost did not have to continually and constantly relive the tragic facts of that day."
A generator being hoisted by a crane fell onto two workers when a strap gave way, Hanover Township Mayor Ronald Francioli said.
"We have learned that when something tragic like this happens there are but three choices: You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you. We have certainly become stronger as a family," Stearns said in a statement. "We have had to. We also understand and appreciate that each day is a gift. And at IPE, that tragic day serves as a constant reminder when we are on job sites that everyone is responsible for safety, not just the contractor doing the work."
He continued: "With respect to the citations issued by OSHA, IPE emphatically disputes the factual assertions that alleged that our employees were not properly trained, were not properly qualified and were not provided safety equipment."
Stearns said his employees were properly trained and certified crane operators both at the time of the accident and at present, and that IPE had provided documentation to OSHA affirming this.
OSHA previously fined Industrial Process and Equipment $2,100 in Oct. 2012 for allegedly endangering employees by exposing them to crushing hazards.
Three other companies — Precision Building and Construction, the general contractor; City Erectors; and Boz Electrical — were also involved in the project but were not found to have violated safety regulations with regard to the February accident.
Each of those companies, however, have also been previously cited by OSHA for various safety violations.
Industrial Process & Equipment, Inc.Industrial Process & Equipment, Inc. is a turnkey machinery installation company equipped to handle every aspect of an industrial installation. From receiving and staging of your equipment to final commissioning, IP&E has the knowledge and dedication to provide your job with dedicated project management to ensure that no detail is overlooked.
Our management staff and project engineers, coupled with experienced millwrights, pipe fitters, certified welders, and riggers can take your job from start to finish. IP&E has been in business since 1991, providing service to some of the largest clients in Industrial and Commercial applications around the country. Difficult jobs, heavy equipment, and around the clock shutdowns have become typical work for IP&E and help us to stand out in our field time and time again.
Besides being a leading force in machinery installation, IP&E has a fully functional fabrication shop enabling us to design and build custom equipment to meet your installation needs. We take pride in the fact that our wide range of talents and capabilities will take your project to the next level and bring the job in on time and within your budget.
Coupled with any difficult job, IP&E has a fully developed Safety Manual tailored to meet site requirements for each individual job. IP&E is committed to continuous training and instruction to ensure a safe working environment for its employees and the clients we serve. To learn more about our safety procedures, please view our Safety and Compliance page.
Heavy Rigging and Crane Service
Serving NJ, NY, PA, CT & MoreWhen it comes to proper installation or replacement of your machinery, IP&E can provide heavy rigging and crane services tailored to the specific needs of your project. Our staff is complete with experienced riggers, crane operators, and drivers to safely rig and transport your equipment. Our heavy rigging equipment includes:
- 200 ton multi-point hydraulic lifting system.
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