Company responsible for worker's death continues same mistakes - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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Company responsible for worker's death continues same mistakes

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A scaffold is left mangled after a collapse at Tivoli Village on August 22, 2016. (FOX5) A scaffold is left mangled after a collapse at Tivoli Village on August 22, 2016. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A construction company, responsible for an unsafe work site that killed an employee, has continued to make the same mistakes not even a month after his death.

OSHA fined Performance Builders, Inc. more than $7,500 due to an unsafe scaffolding that collapsed at Tivoli Village last August. Performance Builders is appealing that case, hoping for a settlement.

Meanwhile, the family of victim Ricardo Bautista said they believe the fines are a joke. They didn't even know about the status of the case until FOX5 informed them of the results.

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"He wasn't supposed to go to work. That's why I told him just stay home," cried his wife, Jacquelyn Bautista. "He said, 'No. I got to make more income.'"

Justin Wilson, a third-party attorney not affiliated with this case, said it is sad that Performance Builders continues to deny any wrongdoing.

"Rather than coming forward and saying, 'Wow we really screwed up!' what you do is you just come forward and say, 'We didn't do anything wrong,'" Wilson sighed. "It's an easy thing to say, but the reality is this could happen again."

Not even one month after Bautista's death, OSHA determined that Performance Builders had the exact same problems with its scaffold. They opened an investigation into Performance Builders because of its job site at the District on Paseo Verde Parkway.

An employee representing the site's general contractor, R&O Construction, told OSHA that he believed "some of the scaffold components were from the Tivoli project and that they had taken out the damaged pieces and were using the others.”

According to OSHA's website, Performance Builders was fined just $5,600 for that case despite the repeat violations.

Three days after Bautista's death, OSHA opened an investigation into Performance Builders because of a job site at the Chase Bank on Tropicana Avenue. Investigators observed an unsafe scaffold with bent frames.

OSHA has investigated Performance Builders 13 times in the past three years. Some believe that the company is more willing to pay the fines than maintain a safe working environment, citing a "broken" system system that favors companies over employees.

"It seems cheaper when you look at -- how much does it cost to hire somebody, a really competent person to get out to a job site and really inspect things?" said Wilson. 

Performance Builders tells OSHA they already have a "competent person" on its payroll. Ruben Sanchez, the company's safety director, is named in many of the 13 OSHA investigations into Performance Builders.

One OSHA investigator challenged the safety director's qualifications.

"Sanchez told me that working for Performance Builders was the first time he had (ever) dealt with scaffold," read the report. "Sanchez told me that he did not have any hands on training with scaffolding prior to Performance Builders.”

The company's owners, Randy Sorensen and Laura Sorensen, have declined all requests for an interview. 

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