Contractor accused of 19 safety failures after fire at Deutsche Bank site at Ground Zero

The US government has fined Bovis Lend Lease for a catalogue of safety failures on a site in New York City after two firefighters died fighting a blaze there last August.

Bovis and a subcontractor called John Galt have been fined a total of $464,500 (£236,192) after an investigation into the fire on the demolition site of the Deutsche Bank tower.

The building was condemned after the World Trade Centre’s south tower collapsed on to it on 9/11.

Bovis was fined $193,000 (£98,126) and John Galt $271,000 (£137,750) for a series of safety hazards.

The US Department of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused Bovis of 19 breaches of health and safety legislation and John Galt of 25.

One of these was failing to prevent workers from smoking, which is believed to have caused the fire. The companies were also accused of allowing construction materials to block stairwells, not having enough fire extinguishers or emergency exit signs, and failing to inspect a standpipe that did not work when firefighters tried to use it to supply water.

Scaffolding was found to have been erected too close to power lines and electrical wires were left exposed.

The Deutsche Bank building has been partially dismantled, but the project has suffered delays owing to disputes with regulators and the discovery of the remains of bodies from the terrorist attack.

Work on site has been delayed since the fire, but Bovis has hired a subcontractor to replace John Galt and presented revised safety plans to its client on the project, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Bovis is working on other high-profile projects in New York, including a memorial for the victims of 9/11.

Bovis said in a statement last week that it “strongly disagreed” with the charges and would appeal against them.