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Construction Firms Had Previous Safety Violations

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by Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - Three companies may share responsibility for Thursday's deadly wall collapse at a Hendersonville construction site.

Two workers were killed and a third was critically injured when a block wall fell on top of them at the construction site for a new Goodwill store on Indian Lake Boulevard.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that none of the companies involved has ever experienced an accident that's anything like this one.

Still, our investigation discovered they have been cited several times for not doing enough to protect their workers.

Overall responsibility for today's tragic accident may rest with one of the biggest names in Nashville construction circles.

The general contractor, Solomon Builders, has a portfolio that includes structures a lot of people may recognize, including the massive Covenant Presbyterian Church in Green Hills.

In 2005, state regulators fined the company $2,400 for failing to protect workers from falls.

In 2007, it was fined $3,100 for two other serious violations.

The next year, it was hit with a $250 penalty for a minor violation.

Then, in 2011, Solomon Builders was fined $2,400 for two serious violations, which again included a lack of fall protection.

Just this year, they were cited for the very same problem. This time, the fine was $3,600.

In addition, state officials say there were two subcontractors involved.

Thorne's Excavating, which employed one of the men who was killed and another who was injured, had just a 1989 blasting violation.

Another company, N&S Waterproofing, employed the second man who was killed. That company had two previous fines for scaffolding and ladder violations.

Despite those violations, investigators tell me there is nothing obvious in any of these companies' histories that would suggest an on-going problem that could have led to Thursday's accident.

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