Who’s responsible for the safety of construction site?

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Who’s responsible for the safety of construction site?

CREATED Mar 29, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Danny Murphy died Saturday when his truck rolled over into the Pantano Wash – an accident his family said only occurred because someone dropped the ball on maintaining safety.

A big question in all of this: Whose responsibility was it to ensure the safety of the construction site? The subcontractor – Harvey Trucking Inc.? Or Pima County, which is in charge of the project?

KGUN9 News reported that Harvey Trucking had no violations with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But KGUN9 News kept looking, and found a slew of problems – according to two other federal agencies.

Family and friends remember 44-year-old Danny Murphy as a down-to-earth guy who never dressed up and loved working on trucks. But it was ultimately a dump truck that crush him in his last moments, before it rolled off the bank’s edge and into the Pantano Wash. Murphy’s mother-in-law said he spoke of that fear for a week.

“He had been telling me about going up and down the hill, and it was so unsafe. He said, ‘There’s no guardrail there whatsoever. If that truck shifts and rolls down I’m a goner,’” Glenda DePew told KGUN9 News.

9 On Your Side went to Harvey Trucking yesterday, but the company declined an interview. So reporter Claire Doan continued to dig, and found that Harvey Trucking has a history of violations with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which prevents commercial, vehicle-related injuries and deaths. In about the last two years, Harvey trucking rated 72% for “unsafe driving.” Officals there said anything over 65% alarms the agency for an inspection. And for vehicle maintenance, the company got 78.5%, which is 1.5% shy of a federal check-up.

But that’s not all. The Mine Safety and Health Administration shows five violations in the last four years. Harvey Trucking was fined for inadequate: safety belts and lines; hazard training; horns and back-up alarms; and safety defects, examination, correction and records.

Those who knew Murphy said he was an experienced truck driver.

“He’s been driving for 20 odd years. He’s been around the block and the country,” said Pastor Cliff Lawton.

KGUN9 News called Pima County and went to its building. A spokesperson told us someone in Risk Management could discuss in general terms the safety of county construction sites, but called us half an hour later to say the county won’t comment due to pending litigation. Another county representative called an hour later to put us in touch with an attorney – but in the end, no one was available to discuss the accident.

Murphy’s family said Harvey Trucking and Pima County shouldn’t be silent if they have nothing to hide. 

“I feel that they’re all wrong. It’s not Danny’s fault. I think Danny did everything he knew to be safe,” Depew said.

Murphy did not have life insurance. Depew said Harvey Trucking offered to pay $3,000 – which she said is not enough to cover funeral expenses.

Anybody who wants to help the family could go to a Wells Fargo Bank and donate to the “Danny Murphy Memorial Fund.”