St Louis, MO – Two construction workers were killed earlier this month while working in an elevator shaft in a building being converted into a hotel at 1501 Washington Avenue in the city.
According to a statement from GenCorp Services, the men, ages 44 and 58, were working from a basket suspended by a cable operated by a hoist inside an elevator shaft when the cable failed. The St. Louis-based company provides demolition, cleanup, and clear-out services.
As reported in the St Louis Post-Dispatch, GenCorp, which hired World Wrecking contractors, said the basket and cable were installed and inspected by Safway Group, “an internationally respected engineering company that used union employees for the installation,” according to the statement.
Authorities were called to the building, the former International Shoe Co., after the workers fell. The workers, both experienced construction workers, employees or subcontractors of GenCorp Services, had been doing demolition and asbestos-related work.
The Post-Dispatch says that weeks before the accident, union representatives raised concerns about GenCorp’s practices with a Post-Dispatch reporter. They said the company doesn’t hire union labor and has insufficient training and safety procedures.
The GenCorp statement emphasizes that the workers killed were union members and that the equipment that apparently failed was installed by a company that hires union workers.
GenCorp has hired a “forensic engineering company” to investigate the accident.