CINCINNATI - This weekend marks one year since the casino collapse at the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati construction site on Jan. 27, 2012.
On a cold Friday morning, several construction workers were injured when a deck collapsed at the project site of the Horseshoe Casino downtown.
Officials say the construction workers were pouring concrete into a metal frame when the middle of the structure gave way at the site of the new casino at the corner of Gilbert Avenue and East Court Street. The workers fell 25 feet to the ground in a slurry of wet concrete.
A total of 13 people sustained injuries and no fatalities were reported.
Surrounding streets were closed for several hours, which disrupted traffic for many downtown commuters. The Greyhound bus station was set up as a staging area for emergency vehicles.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration partnered with Rock Ohio Caesars LLC, which is the developing company for the casino, and immediately conducted an investigation that discovered faulty bolts were the cause of the collapse.
OSHA officials said the cause of the accident at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati was too few bolts connecting horizontal steel support beams with vertical steel columns. The conclusion came in a report from OSHA that cited six firms for alleged violations in the case and proposed fines of $108,220.
Those firms included Messer Construction which was fined $25,200; J&B Steel Erectors fined $19,600; Pendleton Construction Group, LLC fined $16,800; Triversity Construction Company, LLC fined $16,800; D.A.G. Construction Co., Inc. fined $15,120; and Jostin Concrete Construction fined $14,700.
OSHA spokesperson Scott Allen said the six firms were cited because they were directly involved in the erection of the steel and the pouring of the concrete.
Construction was delayed for more than a week while OSHA conducted the investigation. Construction resumed on Jan. 31, 2012.
One of the victims filed a lawsuit last October claiming negligence. James Lancaster broke two bones in his back in the incident is being represented by attorney Eric Deters.
Deters plans to challenge a waiver Messer Construction received from the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation protecting them from liability for injuries to subcontractors like Lancaster.
Lancaster said he was forced to stay in his bed for three months after the accident. He then wore a back brace as he worked to get his strength back. He now works part-time for another construction company, but told 9 On Your Side it's hard for him to make ends meet. The lawsuit is still pending.
When contacted last fall, Messer Construction said they did not have a comment on pending litigation or lawsuits.
The collapse in Cincinnati was not the first for the Horseshoe brand.
The floor of the parking garage at the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino collapsed a month before the Cincinnati incident occurred. The Cleveland casino was also developed by the Rock Gaming and Rock Ohio Caesars LLC. No one was injured in that collapse.
Horseshoe Cincinnati is slated to open this spring on March 4, 2013. Steve Rosenthal, a principal of Rock Gaming, said the project has created more than 2,000 construction jobs and the casino plans to hire a total of 1,700 new casino workers.
Horseshoe Cincinnati is the state's fourth casino and will be the last of four voter-approved, full-service casinos to open in the state in less than one year. Rock Ohio Caesars LLC also opened Ohio’s first casino, Horseshoe Cleveland, in May.
Located on 23 acres in the northeast corner of downtown, the $400 million urban casino development spans more than 400,000 square feet and includes full-service gaming, sit-down and casual dining options and onsite parking. The casino will also offer nearly 33,000 square feet of multi-purpose and special function space for social, corporate, private and live entertainment events.
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