Companies Fined $22,500 in Jonesboro Mall Worker's Death

FEBRUARY 1, 2006 - Posted at 7:50 a.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR - Three companies have been cited for safety violations and fined a total of $22,500 in the death of a worker after he fell from a lift at the construction site of a Jonesboro shopping mall.

Omar Pizana Morales, 19, of Tamulipas, Mexico, and another worker fell about 30 feet from a scissor-lift onto the concrete floor at The Mall at Turtle Creek on October 7.  Morales died two days later at a Jonesboro hospital.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration cited the companies.  The agency contended that Constructor Services of Atlanta and Eurocraft Wall Industries of Georgia failed to maintain the lift, ensure that workers operating the equipment were qualified, provide operating instructions and user safety rules in a language workers could understand and inspect the floor for obstructions before the equipment was used.

OSHA said Hoar Construction of Birmingham, Alabama, failed to inspect the floor.

Jackson Lowery of Hoar said the company disagrees with OSHA and plans to meet with the regulators.  Lowery says workplace safety has always been a cornerstone of the firm's culture.

The companies have until February 7 to pay the fines or contest the citations.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)