Family members mourned the loss of 30-year-old Ricardo Bautista at a special ceremony on Tuesday as FOX5 uncovered new information about his employer, Performance Builders, Inc.
Bautista died last week on a construction site near Summerlin. Firefighters said he was on a scaffold that fell apart. The incident is now under investigation by OSHA.
As it turns out, Performance Builders, Inc. has already received “serious violations” from OSHA in the past, and last week’s tragedy may have similarities with previous cases.
“A serious violation is when an employer knows or should know of a situation that has a definite chance of causing injury or death but does not remedy it,” said Teri Williams, a spokesperson for OSHA.
One man said, even if the contractor’s history with OSHA was squeaky clean, somebody should have seen this coming.
“Once I heard the company, I wasn’t surprised,” said Frank Hawk of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. “They have been on our radar screen for a while now, but now they’re certainly number one on our radar.”
Hawk described the company as “shady,” especially because he said he had been getting calls prior to Bautista's death from employees who said they knew the scaffolding at Tivoli Village was unsafe.
Now he says he wishes he could have done more to try and get the site shut down before the man had to leave behind a wife and three children.
“It was like a prophecy,” said Hawk. “Then you start going through the self-guilt.”
According to OSHA records, Performance Builders, Inc. has been under review at least nine times. In three of those cases, investigators found “serious violations.” The other six cases did not indicate any violations.
FOX5 asked to see specific details about each investigation, but OSHA was unable to release that information at this time.
Hawk was disappointed with that response.
“This should be available (online) for the general public to see,” he said. “You should know about a company that you’re going to work for.”
OSHA’s website indicates Performance Builders, Inc. was last investigated in May. Investigators determined the company was responsible for three serious violations.
Justin Wilson, a local attorney who specializes in cases like these, told FOX5 he could tell by the OSHA paperwork that the violations “appeared to be related to a scaffolding issue.”
Union members don't think it's a coincidence. Now they say there isn't a doubt in their mind: Performance Builders, Inc. has blood on its hands.
“These violations were tied to scaffolds as recent as May,” said Hawk, “and the fact that they’re allowed on these job sites just shows that people find ways to skirt the system.”
FOX5 reached out to Tivoli Village and Performance Builders, Inc. to give them a chance to comment. So far we have not received a response.
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