A New Jersey demolition contractor is facing $49,000 in fines for its alleged role in an airport hangar collapse last year that injured four people.
OSHA is holding Cantanzaro & Sons Enterprise, doing business as CATCO Demolition Services, responsible for the collapse of United Airlines Hangar No. 14 at Newark Liberty International Airport last year.
OSHA alleges CATCO deviated from an approved demolition plan and made unapproved cuts to several I-beams, which weakened the hangar’s structural members. Failure to follow the demolition plan resulted in one willful violation and a $49,000 fine.
Only nine people were inside the hangar when it collapsed. Four of them suffered non-life threatening injuries, and they were taken to University Hospital in Newark. The hangar was being prepped for demolition, and it no longer housed any aircraft.
OSHA’s Citation and Notification of Penalty details the causes of the hangar collapse. The agency’s investigation revealed that structural members of the hangar were over-stressed when:
- CATCO made cuts on the flanges at the ground level and the first floor. A report from Bertin Engineering specified the cuts should’ve only been made at the ground level.
- Cuts on the flanges at the ground and first floor columns severely weakened the load-carrying capacity of the columns. The cuts introduced hinges in columns at each cut in the flanges of the column.
- CATCO made horizontal “V” cuts instead of 45-degree cuts at ground level, column C-13. OSHA says this weakened the column and initiated the collapse of the building.
- CATCO made numerous “V” cuts on the columns above the first floor, which compromised the stability of the structure.
Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippanny, NJ, Area Office, said in a press release, “By not following the approved demolition plan, CATCO Demolition Services left its employees vulnerable to unnecessary risk.”
A spokesperson for CATCO told The Daily Record the company hadn’t received the OSHA citation yet. The Montville, NJ-based company has been in the demolition business for more than 40 years, according to its website.