Advertisement
  1. News

OSHA calls for fines in fatal elevator accident at Tradewinds Resort

An emergency crew responds to the April accident at the Jacaranda Beach Villas, a Tradewinds property on St. Pete Beach.
Published Nov. 1, 2013

ST. PETE BEACH — Two local companies face more than $80,000 in fines because of an unusual and rare fatal elevator accident at the Tradewinds Island Resort this year.

Federal investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration say both the hotel and SWS Environmental should be penalized for serious safety violations in the April 24 incident that involved Mark Allen Johnson, who was crushed to death when an elevator fell on him.

Johnson, 45, of Tampa, was an employee of SWS, which had been subcontracted to clean out the bottom of an elevator shaft at the resort's Jacaranda Beach Villas, 5600 Gulf Blvd. He was working for about 40 minutes when the elevator fell from the second floor. A second worker who was outside the shaft was not injured.

Days after the incident, fire department authorities who tried to rescue Johnson said they immediately noticed an important safety step had been missed. No one that day ensured main power to the elevator was completely off, a process referred to as "lockout/tagout."

OSHA investigators said it is the responsibility of Tradewinds and SWS to ensure safety procedures are known and followed.

The agency has proposed Tradewinds pay $23,000. It wants SWS to pay $61,000 — a figure that's higher because SWS has been cited for safety violations before.

Keith Overton, the resort's president, called the incident a tragedy and said hotel officials still aren't sure exactly what happened.

"We're working with the OSHA inspector to make sure that everything has been remedied where there are shortcomings," he said.

Johnson was not a certified elevator technician, and according to federal investigators, Tradewinds and SWS did not coordinate to make sure lockout/tagout took place.

Overton said the hotel did have written procedures for lockout/tagout, but not for each specific elevator. The hotel corrected that, he said.

"We're going to work with (OSHA) and pay the fines," Overton said. "Beyond that there's really nothing more to it."

SWS declined to comment.

The companies have until Thursday to contest the fines, which could be lowered after the different sides meet.

Johnson's family could not be reached for comment.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8643. Follow @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
    The shooting happened on the 5100 block of Matanzas Avenue, police said.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
    Charges in the incident are pending, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  3. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.
  4. Jessica Stoneking, Seven Springs Elementary School art teacher, and a group of kindergarten children enjoy a colorful floor rug during instruction time.  The rug is one of the many flexible seating options art students have in Stoneking's class. Gail Diederich
  5. President Donald Trump listens to music by military musicians during a State Dinner in the Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP
    Allies of Joe Biden, the early front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, seized on the developments to portray him as the candidate Trump least wants to face next fall.
  6. Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil says religious leaders must be empathetic to the needs of families members of those who die by suicide. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Attitudes have evolved with understanding about mental illness
  7. Rabbi Reb Tuviah (Paul Schreiber) is rarely seen without his guitar. He will sing at the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at Temple Beth David in Spring Hill. Paul Schreiber
  8. Joshua Michael Nichols, 21, was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday in connection to the early morning shooting death of an unidentified man during an argument outside a Spring Hill home. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    One person is in custody. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
  9. Yesterday• Pasco
    Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, received his third “Paul Harris Award.” the highest recognition from the Rotary Club, on Aug. 15. The pin was presented to Dr. Musunuru, a nationally-recognized cardiologist, by Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins in recognition of his humanitarian and philanthropic services to the people of Pasco County and the State of Florida for nearly 40 years. Pictured: Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, (left) and Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins. Jemith Rosa/Hudson Rotary Club
    News and notes about your neighbors
  10. A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy walks around the Old Skool Sports Bar and Grill, the scene of a shooting early in the morning, north of Lancaster, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  Lancaster County Sherriff's Office said in a statement that the agency was investigating a fatal shooting that also injured several people.  (Jessica Holdman/The Post And Courier via AP) JESSICA HOLDMAN  |  AP
    Two adult males were shot and killed.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement