Charge filed in Sparta workplace death

Joe Novak


SPARTA, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — A western Michigan man has been charged with a crime in the death of a man who fell through a roof in 2012.

Workers were removing a roof deck at the Federal Mogul Plant in Sparta, north of Grand Rapids, when the accident happened. Brian Tarachanowicz stepped through a weak piece of roof decking and fell 26 feet to his death.

The state attorney general’s office says investigators found many problems with Black River Builders. The state says neither Tarachanowicz, 38, nor other workers were wearing required protective equipment, and no inspections had been performed to detect hazards.

The state says a safety harness could have saved Tarachanowicz’s life.

Black River Builders owner Joe Novak of Holland has been charged with a safety violation causing death, a felony. He is due Wednesday in 63rd District Court. If convicted, he could spend a year in jail.

MIOSHA cited the company in 2008 with the same violation.

24 Hour News 8’s calls to Black River Builders for comment were not returned Wednesday afternoon. The company’s office near Holland was locked.

24 Hour News 8’s Henry Erb contributed to this report.

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