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Contractor Fined for Bridge Safety Failures Leading to Worker Death

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A 42-year-old welder employed by PCL Civil Constructors fell to their death while working on the Bonner Bridge in Rodanthe, North Carolina, in April. The worker was helping demolish the bridge by torch-cutting crossbeams on a section of the bridge where concrete had been discarded for removal. The concrete’s weight caused the structure to collapse and the welder to fall.

A federal workplace safety investigation found that established procedures were ignored, causing the worker’s fall and death.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited PCL Civil Constructors with two serious violations for failure to use engineering surveys or calculations to control the structure’s stability and avoid unplanned collapses. OSHA also found the employer overloaded bridge sections beyond weight capacity and exposed workers to struck-by and crush-by hazards. OSHA has proposed $23,210 in penalties.  

“PCL Civil Constructors violated federal safety standards and a worker needlessly died as a result,” said Kimberly Morton, OSHA area director, in a prepared statement. “If they had followed well-known standards, this tragic loss of life could have been prevented.”

Source: OSHA