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Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Workplace safety officials have investigated Library Lot project twice following incidents

By Juliana Keeping

Inspectors from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration have twice investigated the underground parking structure construction site in downtown Ann Arbor following incidents there, records show.

A man who fell backward and hit his head while working Tuesday on the four-story underground parking structure is the third worker transported to the hospital following an accident at the site since it broke ground in early 2010, according to reports and Huron Valley Ambulance records.

Construction of the $50 million underground parking structure is managed by Christman Co. under the direction of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The site is located between Fifth Avenue and Division Street, south of Liberty, near the Ann Arbor District Library.

Records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show investigators have visited the site at 319 S. Fifth Ave. at least four times, twice for planned site inspections and twice due to incidents at the site since construction began in early 2010, said Patricia Meyer, the director of the construction and safety health division at MIOSHA.

MIOSHA opened investigations into Christman Co. on March 28 and its subcontractor Christman Constructors Inc. on April 4, Meyer said records show. She said she could not provide further information on those investigations, including what incident sparked each, without a Freedom of Information Act request.


Ann Arbor firefighters rescue a man who fell and hit his head Tuesday morning at the parking deck under construction on South Fifth Avenue between East Liberty and East William, next to the Ann Arbor District Library. Huron Valley Ambulance transported the man to the University of Michigan Hospital at about 9:10 a.m.

Melanie Maxwell | filed a FOIA Wednesday.

Those investigations are complete and did not yield citations, she said records show.

A December 2010 planned site visit resulted in one serious violation, for which the company was fined $1,400 due to rules regarding signage. Meyer said the company appealed, and the decision was reversed.

Previous incidents on or near the site include:

On March 8, a metal wall collapsed, injuring two workers who were treated and released at the University of Michigan Health System.

Weeks later, on March 22, a boy fell into a hole that opened up outside of the site but was not injured. He was lifted out by crane after spending about 10 minutes in the hole.

Two days later, a 40-foot-deep sink hole about the size of a car opened up outside of the construction site, behind Jerusalem Garden. No one was injured following the incident. The company pushed back its barriers and conducted safety checks around the perimeter of the site following that incident.

Susan Pollay, the director of the Downtown Development Authority was not available to answer questions.

Pat Podges, vice president of southeast Michigan operations for Christman Co., said via email Tuesday afternoon the cause of the accident is under investigation.

He did not respond to a request for an interview.

In March, following the string of incidents, Meyer said the company’s safety record at the site is “pretty good,” considering the heavy construction work being done there.

On Tuesday, the male worker fell backward about three feet and hit his head after he caught his pant leg on metal rebar rod. Rescue crews lifted him out of the site by crane and transported him to the University of Michigan Hospital. Podges said Tuesday afternoon the extent of the man’s injuries were unknown. He was alert and conscious at the scene, said Joyce Williams, the spokeswoman for HVA.

Once it’s finished, the site of the underground parking structure will include around 700 parking spaces, and up top, a mid-block street, alley and pedestrian improvements, according to the DDA. The 300 block of South Fifth Avenue is closed during construction.

In July, Christman Co. project manager Amy Sullivan said completion is expected in the spring of 2012, pending cooperative weather. The project is being paid for with a combination of parking revenue and tax incremental financing.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


Rod Johnson

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

That rebar can be rebarbative.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:01 a.m.

Julianna: Construction materials probably aren't your "thing," but Bonsai is right. The term is "rebar," a steel bar used for reinforcing concrete.

Jen Eyer

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Thank you. That typo has been corrected.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

I hate getting caught on rebarb. Is that like rhubarb?


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

No, it's when you make a second pointed comment at someone. Or when someone named Barbara has a daughter also named Barbara. I'm here all week, folks...


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

" He was alert and conscious at the scene, said Joyce Williams, the spokeswoman for HVA" Really, nine people attending a fullly conscious guy that bumped his head? I worked construction all my life and never saw the kind of attention that gives this kind of non story. "Bloody nose due to water bottle installation" Is that the next big story of the day?


Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

BornNRaised: You are welcome.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

As someone who was there, I can assure you his injuries were far worse that what are being reported. But thank you for your expert opinion on the rescue efforts.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

Isn't this haunted parking structure behind schedule? When will it be completed?