On Jan. 16, 2014, David Kimberl, an 18-year-old laborer was crushed to death when a bridge panel, weighing nearly 1,800 pounds, fell on him while he was dismantling a section of the old Aucilla River Bridge on U.S. 98 in Lamont, Fla. Kimberl was on the job for one week and had never worked in bridge construction. OSHA cited GLF Construction Corp. for 14 safety violations following its investigation of the fatality.
"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer followed proper safety procedures to secure the bridge panels from falling over," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "This young man didn't even earn his first paycheck from GLF Construction when he paid the ultimate price of working on a mismanaged project. The only difference between a safe act and an unsafe act depends on the level of importance an employer places on doing what is right."
Fourteen serious violations include the employer's failure to provide instruction to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions associated with bridge panels falling over if they were not properly secured; failing to provide fall protection for employees working near the edge of a trestle; not providing training for workers to recognize struck-by hazards while working around cranes; allowing materials to be loaded by a person who was not a qualified rigger and not removing several synthetic web slings from service that were punctured, cut and torn.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
GLF Construction is a subsidiary of Grandi Lavori Fincosit SpA of Rome, Italy, that was established in 1905. It is an international engineering and construction company, specializing in heavy civil, marine works, major bridge structures, general contracting, design-build and historical renovation. GLF Construction has more than 3,500 employees worldwide providing extensive design, engineering and construction services to both the public and private sectors. The company has its U.S. headquarters in Miami, Fla., with divisional offices in Dallas, Texas and Wilmington, N.C.
OSHA's proposed penalties total $72,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.