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6 firms cited in collapse at Cincinnati casino project

CINCINNATI -- Federal safety investigators say they are citing six companies involved in a Cincinnati casino construction project for safety violations carrying more than $108,000 in fines after a floor collapsed during work.

More than a dozen workers were injured in the Jan. 27 accident at the downtown Horseshoe Casino project, where work has resumed. Most injuries were minor.

Scott Allen, a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said Monday that certified letters were sent to six companies.

The citations included allegations of inadequate inspections and lack of safeguards against falls.

Casino construction manager Messer Construction was notified of four alleged violations classified as "serious," carrying fines of $6,300 each. OSHA said the Cincinnati firm didn't have a program of frequent and regular inspections of the site to make sure that metal decking for walking and working surfaces "was being maintained and supported."

Another citation said there were an "inadequate number of bolts, welds, or other equivalent supports" at connection points, "exposing workers to crushing injuries."

A floor collapsed as concrete was being poured at the project. Messer officials said soon afterward that construction, safety, and inspection procedures have been reviewed and new ones added at the site.

Messer said it disputes some of OSHA's findings and is requesting a conference with the agency to discuss its concerns.

Tom Keckeis, Messer's president and CEO, said in a statement that the company continues to cooperate with OSHA and is committed to following its requirements. "That being said, there are elements of the citation with which we respectfully disagree," he said, adding that Messer has an overall safety record that is "impeccable."

Messer said the statement was also on behalf of Pendleton Construction Group, its construction management partner group also facing citations.

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