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Sparta builder charged in fatal fall | News

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Sparta builder charged in fatal fall

LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) - The Michigan Attorney General has charged a Holland man with a MiOSHA Violation Causing Death after a fatal fall in 2012.

Joe Novak, 40, of Holland, is the President and Owner of Black River Builders, LLC of Sparta. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Novak is expected to surrender to authorities Wednesday.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says in a press statement that the charges stem from the death of Brian Tarachanowicz on July 2, 2012. Tarachanowicz fell 26 feet to a concrete floor while removing an old roof deck at Federal-Mogul Corp. in Sparta. Tarachanowicz fell through a weak spot in the roof and was not wearing safety equipment. He died at the scene.

The MiOSHA investigation allegedly shows that Tarachanowicz and other workers were not using fall protection equipment even though a section of the old deck had been removed. The AG also alleges that there were no engineering surveys or daily inspections conducted to detect hazards and unsafe conditions while Black River Builders worked on the project.

MiOSHA has inspected Black River Builders nine times since 2007 and cited them in 2008 for a Serious Violation for lack of fall protection gear. They have been cited with several other serious violations as well.