Local News

Oct 3, 2013 5:34 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

6 Investigates: Former Reytec Employee says Accident Could have Been Prevented

CORPUS CHRISTI - A former Reytec employee is saying a horrible accident that happened on Williams and Nile back in March could have been prevented.

As you may recall, two Reytec workers were cutting through a slab of concrete when it collapsed, leaving them pinned by their legs underneath it.

The employee we mentioned is Reytec's former Director of Safety, Wayne Duncan.

He interviewed the workers after the accident, as well as their supervisors, and all other relevant parties. In his report, he says that the accident could have been avoided and that the supervisors didn't listen to concerns from their workers.

"It was complete negligence," Duncan says, "This accident was preventable."

In his report, he says the workers told their foreman and superintendent that, "the top (of the slab of concrete) had dropped and/or slipped a couple of inches and they were concerned with it falling".

The report says that the superintendent, "Mark West told them (the workers) they were 'chicken' and to continue work".

When the workers continued cutting, the concrete collapsed.

Duncan recommended punishing the superintendent in his report, but claims that Reytec never did.

Duncan was fired. He says he was fired for continually pushing Reytec on safety issues.

But Reytec says that's not true. They say Duncan was fired for cause and that it had absolutely nothing to do with the report he filed.

As for the accident itself, Reytec says they had faulty information from the project engineers. They say there was supposed to be support underneath the concrete that wasn't there when they made the cut.

In his opinion as a former safety director, Duncan says that's no excuse.

"Reytec has the same drawings that the engineers have. Reytec has the same access to the old plans that the engineers have. It's Reytec's job to do the job safely. So Reytec did not do it's due-diligence in investigating before they continued to saw-cut," Duncan says.

Duncan has filed a wrongful termination suit against Reytec.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration did fine Reytec $63,000 for safety violations related to that accident.

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