Investigation finds no violations after men die at mall site

April 30, 2000|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

A state investigation of an accident at the Arundel Mills construction site that killed two brothers has found no safety violation or explanation.

The men were erecting steel beams Dec. 16 when a column collapsed and fell on a lift, sending the men into a 30-foot fall at the site near Route 100 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Joel G. Graham, 32, died that evening at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. His brother, Vernon C. Graham, 36, died weeks later. Both were from Winchester, Va., and worked for Commercial Erectors of Manassas, Va.

A Maryland Occupational Safety and Health report made public last week said safety precautions had been followed.

It did not analyze why the column the men were working on collapsed but concluded that builder Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and Commercial Erectors, a subcontractor installing beams and columns, could not have prevented the accident.

"We never understood why the column failed. I don't have a structural engineer on hand," said Keith Goddard, MOSH assistant commissioner. "I don't think the company could've had the knowledge that the column was going to collapse. I don't think anybody could foresee that structural collapse."

According to the report, the Grahams were fitting a steel beam onto the column when it gave way, falling into the lift and bringing it down.

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