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Three Deaths, Three Years, Same Contractor

Wisconsin highway contractor cited in struck-by fatality

March 16, 2016

Three workers have been killed while working on projects managed by Lunda Construction Company since 2012.

The latest involved an 18-year old carpenter's apprentice who died September 21, 2015 after being struck by a forklift on a resurfacing project at the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. The worker had been on the job only three months. The operator of the forklift was not supposed to be driving the vehicle due to a documented restriction specifying he was not to use his right hand. He also lacked adequate training.

OSHA has cited Lunda for one willful and five serious safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Lunda Construction also faces $105,000 in penalties.

According to OSHA, its investigators found these violations:

  • Workers had no specific training on a rough-terrain forklift.
  • Workers lacked training to recognize hazards and unsafe conditions while operating vehicles.
  • Vehicles were not inspected before being placed in service.
  • Workers drove vehicles at unsafe speeds and too close to employees standing in front of fixed objects.
  • The company failed to include plans for prompt medical attention in case of serious injury before starting the project.

"This young man was fresh out of high school with a lifetime ahead of him," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.. "His family and friends are left with pain and grief because this man's employer failed to keep him and his co-workers safe. Lunda has a dismal safety record. OSHA will continue to monitor and inspect Lunda sites until the company does the right thing and makes worker safety a priority on its job sites."

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