Fayetteville work site still open after 3 accidents in 6 weeks

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FAYETTEVILLE (40/29 News) - A Northwest Arkansas construction site has had a series of accidents in recent weeks, but city officials say crews are allowed to continue working there.

Crews are building the Vue Apartments for student housing in Fayetteville but there have been three accidents on the site in six weeks. Still, city officials say the workers haven't violated any ordinances as far as building safety.

"There are oftentimes minor violations when someonecalls for an inspection, but generally, those can be repaired either on thespot or fairly quickly," said Jeremy Pate, director of development services.

Pate said there was only one work stoppage on the Vue Apartments. That happened for about a month in April for fire code violations. But in May, one worker died when a trench he was digging collapsed and another worker was electrocuted and died just two weeks ago.

Thursday morning, firefighters said a diesel tank fell off a forklift, spilling hundreds of gallons of fuel down the hillside and into a storm drain.

City officials said a large job like this one with so many workers involved increases the likelihood for accidents.

According to Fayetteville Battalion Chief Mauro Campos, "They've got electricians, plumbers, constructionworkers, builders and equipment operators, all kinds of different people anddifferent skills and it's just a big operation."

"I think thisone in particular just happens to be a large project," Pate said, "so there are a lot ofdifferent individuals and contractors there to manage. But really in terms ofoccupational safety, it's on them, so they have to meet state guidelines andOSHA requirements for occupational safety."

As far as the work goes, city officials said they will continue their routine inspections and make sure all the work done complies with all city codes and ordinances.

The two fatal accidents on that construction site are being looked into by OSHA. Neither investigation has been completed.

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