JOB SITE ACCIDENT TAKES LIVES OF TWO NEW JERSEY MEN

In an accident which remains under investigation, two men were fatally injured by a falling generator on a construction site in northern New Jersey. The job site in question is the future home of the Whippany Fire Company Headquarters along Troy Hills Road. Robert Derkacs Jr., 45, of Vernon, and Joseph Donahue, 25, of Montague, were working on the ground below, with Derkacs working as an employee of Boz Electric of Vernon, and Donahue working for Industrial Process & Equipment of Sussex. Above them, an employee of City Erectors of West Caldwell operated a crane, provided to the site by that company, to relocate a 10,000-lb generator to its final installation location. It is unclear what caused the failure of the equipment, but something caused the straps that held the generator aloft to snap or begin to unravel, causing the generator to plummet to the ground. Donahue and Derkacs, working in a ditch below, were beneath the generator when it fell. Donohue died at the scene of the accident. Derkacs suffered leg, rib, and lung injuries, and was transported to Morristown Memorial Center. He died at the hospital later that evening. 

According to representatives from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), who arrived at the scene to begin an investigation on the afternoon of the crash, three of the four contractors operating on the site had all been the subject of previous complaints. The general contractor on the site, Precision Building of Bridgewater, was forced to pay $2,100 in fines to OSHA in 2009. Boz Electric was issued two different citations in May of 2010, for which it was required to pay $2,625. Finally, Industrial Process & Equipment was compelled to pay $2,100 in fines in October of 2012. City Erectors had been the subject of complaints in November of 2014, but no fines were ultimately issued.

If you're an employee on a construction site, stay alert for possible safety violations. While some rule violations may seem insignificant, an inattention to rules and protocols on small issues could be indicative of a lack of concern for compliance with more significant safety protections. Safety violations can and should be reported to OSHA, not only for the sake of your own safety, but for the sake of the safety of those around you.

If you've been hurt at the workplace in New Jersey, contact the skilled, experienced Morristown job site injury attorneys at Smith & Doran for a consultation on your case, at 973-292-0016.

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