Company fined for scaffold worker’s death at Tivoli Village

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) Ricardo Bautista, 30, was on top of a scaffold with two other men when it crumbled. Bautista fell 50 to 60 feet and died. The other two men jumped off in time.OSHA documents indicate that the work site was unsafe because the scaffold was not being held together properly by coupling pins. Heavy winds and forklift activity would have necessitated the use of the pins, according to OSHA regulations, and the scaffold manufacturer’s guidelines. Instead, investigators found more than 50 locations where the scaffold was not connected properly.Investigators also found an unsecured brace that was cut and modified. Both violations are considered “serious” and carry a penalty of $3,500.Performance Builders will also be fined $550 for failing to sign Bautista’s safety paperwork.FOX5 has investigated Performance Builders and the OSHA system for months.Performance Builders has been the subject of 13 OSHA investigations in the past three years. “Their job is to inspect it, and they’re not catching things. Scaffolding is one of the most dangerous.”Despite the 13 investigations, this case at Tivoli Village is the first in which Performance Builders’ actions led to the death of an employee.Randy Sorensen, listed as the general manager for Performance Builders, has repeatedly declined FOX5’s request for an interview, but he indicated that he will be challenging the fines.”We grieve for the family, but we didn’t do anything wrong?” scoffed Jones. “They’re 9 times out of 10, more likely than not, going to come to a settlement. It’s not even going to be $7,500.”OSHA said Sorensen was at the cheap jerseys work site in the days leading up to the collapse, including the day of it. Investigators stated he should have been capable of noticing the problems before anyone died.”He could have identified the cut brace that was on ground level and in plain view,” read OSHA’s report.Frank Hawk, of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said Performance Builders has a reputation for offering some of the cheapest prices because of their pattern of cutting corners with safety.”I think the only justice out there is that the owner of this company should go to jail,” said Hawk. “Fines don’t mean anything. I think they should lock (Sorensen) up. It’s blatantly obvious that they don’t care.”Many agree that OSHA’s fines are toothless and contribute to a broken system that fails to keep workers safe.Jacquelyn Bautista, Ricardo’s wife, said she can’t put a price on her husband, and that $7,550 is “nothing.””It was five months ago, but it still feels like yesterday,” she said through tears.OSHA paperwork indicates Performance Builders received a 30 percent “discount” on its fines because of the company’s “size” and “history.”FOX5 asked OSHA why this company would deserve a discount and why a discount system exists in the first place. We have not gotten back a response.”It’s troubling. It should be troubling to anyone,” said Jones. “It’s cheaper a lot of times for them to pay the fine then slow down and do what they need to do. It is a system that I do not believe provides justice for this family.”Multiple employees risked their jobs to tell OSHA how unsafe Performance Builders ran its work site.One man wrote that the scaffold, “didn’t feel right” and that it was “moving.”Another employee wrote, “I have been asking for more training because there is a lack of communication here. They don’t tell me things when I ask.”A man we interviewed in November, who asked for his face to be blacked out, said he knew it was only a matter of time before someone was seriously hurt on Performance Builders’ scaffold.”I bet you (Ricardo) is rolling in his grave right now. I would be. It’s a spit in the face,” he said. “They were trying to cut corners and keep it as cheap as possible. The safety was questionable.”.

Company finds cheap prescriptions

After registering at the Web site, Medtipster users will be cheap jerseys able to type in their drug name, dosage and ZIP code. The site will then search for generic equivalents to prescriptions, including $4 drug pricing to fill a prescription or alternative medications that have the desired health benefit, Chief Operating Officer Bruce Liebowitz said Friday.

The search includes all of the United States, according to the sponsoring company, 4D Pharmacy Management Systems. It is a pharmacy benefits manager established in 1988.

The site was developed to provide the public with a solution to the rising cost of health care, enabling Web site visitors to find affordable equivalents to their prescriptions in the neighborhood and around the company, spokeswoman Kristen Berry said.

The pharmaceutical information is culled from information provided by chain drugstores, grocery store pharmacies and independent stores around town, across the state and throughout the county, she added.

If a search reveals no generic equivalent, Medtipster can notify the user when it becomes available or it will suggest therapeutic alternatives, she added.

The company estimated that as many as 80 percent of all prescriptions can be redirected to discount programs.

There are about 47 million Americans, including 8.7 million children, who had no medical coverage in 2006, according to the latest available data from the Census Bureau.

Company Facebook policies tricky

WASHINGTON In the age of instant tweets and impulsive Facebook posts, some companies are still trying to figure out how they can limit what their employees say about work online without running afoul cheap jerseys of the law.

Confusion about what workers can or can’t post has led to a surge of more than 100 complaints at the National Labor Relations Board most within the past year and created uncertainty for businesses about how far their social media policies can go. Chamber of Commerce.

In one case, a Chicago area car salesman was fired after going on Facebook to complain that his BMW dealership served overcooked hot dogs, stale buns and other cheap food instead of nicer fare at an event to roll out a posh new car model.

The NLRB’s enforcement office found the comments were legally protected because the salesman was expressing concerns about the terms and conditions of his job, frustrations he had earlier shared in person with other employees.

But the board’s attorneys reached the opposite conclusion in the case of a Wal Mart employee who went on Facebook to complain about management “tyranny” and used an off color Spanish word to refer to a female assistant manager. The worker was suspended for one day and disqualified from seeking promotion for a year.

The board said the postings were “an individual gripe” rather than an effort to discuss work conditions with co workers and declined to take action against the retailer.

Those cases are among 14 investigations the board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, discussed in a lengthy report last month on the rise in social media cases. Solomon says federal law permits employees to talk with co workers about their jobs and working conditions without reprisal whether that conversation takes place around the water cooler or on Facebook or Twitter.

“Most of the social media policies that we’ve been presented are very, very overbroad,” Solomon said in an interview. “They say you can’t disparage or criticize the company in any way on social media, and that is not true under the law.”

The number of cases spiked last year after the board sided with a Connecticut woman fired from an ambulance company after she went on Facebook to criticize her boss. That case settled earlier this year, with the company agreeing to change its blogging and Internet policy that had banned workers from discussing the company over the Internet.

The National Labor Relations Act protects both union and nonunion workers when they engage in “protected concerted activity” coming together to discuss working conditions. But when online comments might be seen by hundreds or thousands of eyeballs, companies are concerned about the effect of disparaging remarks.

Doreen Davis, a management side labor lawyer based in Philadelphia, said many of her corporate clients are often “surprised and upset” when they learn they can’t simply terminate employees for talking about work online.

“All of us on the management side are being inundated with calls and inquiries from clients about this,” Davis said. “A lot of companies want their social media policies reviewed or they want to establish one for the first time.”

But the NLRB’s Solomon also warns workers that not everything they write on Facebook or Twitter will be permissible under the law just because it discusses their job.

“A lot of Facebook, by its very nature, starts out as mere griping,” Solomon said. senator, Republican Dick Lugar, to complain that her company skimped on wages and that its cheap service compromised the quality of care.

The NLRB’s enforcement office declined to take up her case, saying that the employee didn’t discuss her complaints with other workers or show any attempt to take employee complaints to management. She may have been trying to make a public official aware of problems with emergency medical services in Indiana, but board attorneys said that wasn’t enough to protect her under the law.

The judge ordered the group, Hispanics United of Buffalo, to reinstate the five employees and award them back pay.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Eastman said it’s too early to criticize how the board is interpreting the law, but he wants to see what happens in closer cases where an employee goes “over the top” with criticism of a supervisor of employer.

Company Charges for Cheap Deeds

Officials cheap jerseys say not only are there rarely lines to collect copies of deeds, but residents can even get copies of the documents online or in the mail.

Wisconsin residents are receiving letters from a company called Local Records Office. The flyer looks like a bill, but is really a solicitation for a service that provides copies of property deed for $89. The same document is available from Wisconsin counties for just a dollar or two per page.

NBC 15 called the service. An operator explained the markup because “some people don’t really like to stand in line for hours so that’s why we offer the service.”

Earlier this summer the state issued the company a warning. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection claims the mailings are deceptive, and that the disclaimer is too small and inconspicuous.

Company bets on affordable modular housing PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Everyone seems in a rush to build the big wooden boxes, modules that will be trucked to home sites and assembled there.

This is not mobile home building. No, these are virtually the “Home Sweet Home” houses built stick by stick in well heeled suburbs across America, insists Regional Building Systems, the Columbia based company that runs the Northeast factory and another in Fredericksburg, Va.

These days, the price range of a modular house to the consumer runs from $80,000 to more than $200,000.

“We think that plant built housing is the wave of the future,” says Jim Umland, a vice president of majority shareholder Nagelvoort Co. The private New York investment banking firm bought an 84 percent stake when the unit, formerly known as Ryland Building Systems, was spun off from the Ryland Group last July. Under the $43 million, two year contract, RBS will manufacture, assemble and sell the houses to the developer of the “Aspen Knolls” subdivision.

The lingering recession has not made life easy for Regional Building Systems. Revenues fell to $30 million last year, compared to $60 million annually during the homebuilding boom of the late 1980s. Net income has steadily risen, though company officials declined to provide details, noting the company is private.

One reason RBS has weathered the homebuilding recession unlike other modular builders is that it has stressed affordable housing, including town houses and apartments for low income buyers in inner city areas.

RBS has become a major supplier of modules to subsidiaries of the Columbia based Enterprise Foundation, founded by James Rouse. RBS modules have been used, for instance, in West Baltimore’s Nehemiah project, which is designed to encourage homeownership among low and moderate income families.

“The market for affordable housing will be insatiable in the next five years because almost no one has serviced that market,” says Ann McGee, director of administration at RBS.

The market for modules which represent 80 percent of a completed home is growing because of domestic demand for low cost housing and the potential for exports, says Lance Carlson, an executive at Automated Builder.

Gone are the days of pure “stick built” homes, when virtually every part of a house was created on site. Today floor and roof trusses, kitchen cabinets, bathroom tub enclosures, staircases and railings are among the components routinely made in a factory. The use of factory made pre hung doors and windows has become common, and many builders also buy pre built walls. About 10 percent of RBS sales are for “panelized” products.

Modular housing has become a realistic alternative to stick building, says Jim Hanna, director of codes administration for Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

For example, he notes that modular builders are no longer limited in terms of the pitch of a home’s roof because they’ve developed hinged roofs that collapse for transport through tunnels and under bridges. “Roof hinges are a great feature that allow builders, for example, to build a Cape Cod.”

Still, modular home building accounts for just 6 percent of the residential building market, Mr. Carlson says. Module makers have captured only about 20 percent of the homebuilding market on the East Coast. And modular building is less often used on the West Coast because of the popularity of contemporary homes, which don’t lend themselves as easily to modular building techniques as the boxy, traditional homes prevalent in the East.

RBS and other builders believe modular homes will become more popular as the “downscale” stigma vanishes.

RBS routinely provides modules to builders serving America’s middle and upper middle classes. One of its biggest customers is Ryland, which is using the modules in its Meadow Ridge subdivision in Columbia.

And judging from model homes at RBS’ Northeast factory, the building technique is as applicable to expensive detached homes as to the small town cheap jerseys house units destined for inner city Baltimore. RBS’ more elaborate models are virtually indistinguishable from pricey stick built homes. The only noticeable difference: Walls within a modular home are thicker where the modules adjoin.

Modular homes needn’t be constructed on slabs most have basements. And they can easily be higher than one story, because cranes can hoist one module on top of another when the house is assembled. RBS offers 40 different styles of homes to its customers, a network of builders.

Companion services that can help seniors with the rigors of travel

Dear Savvy Senior, Do you know of any services that help seniors with the rigors of traveling? My youngest daughter is getting married in a few months and would love to have my 82 year old mother attend, but she needs cheap jerseys help flying across the country. Searching Daughter

Dear Searching, Traveling can be daunting under the best circumstances but for elderly seniors, those with disabilities, or those recovering or rehabilitating from an illness or injury, it can seem particularly overwhelming or unmanageable.

Whether it’s seniors going on vacation or grandparents wanting to join their far off families for weddings and graduations, travel companions help clients who need help moving through airports, managing luggage, navigating busy terminals and hotel lobbies, and much more.

Some companion services even provide personal care like medication reminders, dressing, bathing and feeding. And for those with specific medical needs, traveling nurse services are available as well.

But be aware that these services aren’t cheap. You will pay for the travel companion’s tickets, the companion’s hotel room if necessary, meals, incidentals and fees for the service. The price to accompany a client on a plane trip within the United States including the companion fees and travel costs for all parties can range anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 or more for coach airfare. Business or first class would cost more.

To locate a travel companion service in your area, search online for “senior travel companion” or “senior travel escort,” followed by your mom’s city or state.

If your mom doesn’t require a lot of assistance or if you can’t afford a travel escort, consider asking a trusted family member or friend that has some air travel experience.

Questions to ask

If you’re interested in hiring a travel companion service to help your mom, there are a number of things you need to check into to ensure you get the right escort.

First, if you mom requires personal or medical care while traveling, find out if the escort is trained to manage her health care needs. What sort of medical certifications do they have? (Nursing credentials? CPR training?)

Also, find out how many trips the companion has taken with clients. Have they completed trips with travelers like your mom? How long has the travel service company been in business? What is the company’s safety record? And what sort of insurance does it carry, and what and who does it cover?

Also, get a quote breaking down exactly what you’ll be required to pay, in addition to the companion’s fees. And get a list of two or three clients/references who have used their service and call them.