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KY Signs Safety Plan with Bridge GC

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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Kentucky officials have announced an agreement with general contractor Walsh Construction Co. to step up worker safety on the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, but Indiana—Kentucky's partner on the project—has not signed on.

That is because the contractor is still facing open investigations in Indiana regarding two deaths on projects there last year, officials say.

Downtown Crossing
kyinbridges.com

Walsh Construction is the general contractor for the Downtown Crossing on The Ohio River Bridges Project. Walsh Investors is a partner on the other crossing project.

Another Walsh bridge project in Connecticut was temporarily shut down just before the two Indiana deaths for a series of accidents.

Construction Partnership

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday (Oct. 7) that the state's Labor Cabinet had "established a formal site-based construction partnership" with Walsh Construction Co. and WVB East End Partners, which are building two crossings of the Louisville-Southern Indiana project.

WVB includes Walsh Investors, the investment division of Walsh Construction's parent company.

Walsh is the general contractor for the so-called Downtown Crossing, a steel bridge more than 2,000 feet long; WVB is building the East End Crossing, which includes a 2,500-foot-long cable-stayed bridge and a 1,700-foot traffic tunnel.

The construction partnership will track the number of hazards identified by each contractor on a quarterly basis and compile that information annually, according to the Jeffersonville, IN, News and Tribune. The agreement will also track training provided to Walsh and the visits performed by the division of compliance and will allow safety inspectors to visit the site without notice.

Hundreds of Workers

“The purpose of this partnership is to make the construction of these bridges and everything that goes with them as safe as possible for the hundreds of workers who will be involved,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts.

Larry Roberts East End Crossing
ky.gov (left); kyinbridges.com (right)

Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts said the partnership would make construction of the East End Crossing (pictured) and Downtown Crossing "as safe as possible" for the projects' hundreds of workers.

“The Labor Cabinet is dedicated to protecting employees from injuries and illnesses, and this partnership will allow us to work closely with both of these construction teams to provide a workplace that is as safe as possible.”

A Walsh project manager said the agreement would create "a culture of continual improvement in safety through training, safe work procedures and worker engagement..."

“As a family company, the Walsh Group values the safety of all tradespeople on our projects just as if they are our own family members,” Arik Quam, project manager for the Downtown Crossing, said in a statement.

Indiana Fatalities

Indiana, which shares the Ohio River Bridges Project, is not a party to the new agreement. Walsh Construction was involved in two fatal accidents within two weeks last year on different projects in that state.

“Indiana OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) actually has an open investigation on a fatality with Walsh,” Indiana Department of Labor spokesperson Shetrice Mosley told the News and Tribune. “Until that is resolved, we cannot enter into that type of partnership.”

“Indiana OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) actually has an open investigation on a fatality with Walsh,” Mosley said. “Until that is resolved we cannot enter into that type of partnership.” - See more at: http://newsandtribune.com/local/x134974439/Kentucky-signs-safety-agreement-with-Walsh-on-bridges-project#sthash.A3eYHvYd.dpuf

In July 2012, IOSHA issued two serious safety violations against Walsh in the death of Roger Lee Cox, 50, of Austin, IN.

Milton Madison Bridge
miltonmadisonbridgeproject.com

Roger Lee Cox, 50, was pinned between a lift basket and a bridge beam on the Milton-Madison Bridge project. Walsh is appealing the $10,000 fine in the fatality.

Cox died May 3, three days after he was found pinned between an aerial lift and bridge beam on the $131 million Milton-Madison Bridge project.

Walsh is appealing the $10,000 fine issued in that case.

Cox's accident came exactly two weeks after David Anderson, 33, of Walsh's office in Crown Point, IN, was struck and killed by an excavator on a job site in Northeast Indianapolis. Walsh was cited with three serious violations in that case and fined $13,500.

Mosley told the newspaper that a settlement had been reached in the Anderson case, and OSHA's database showed Tuesday (Oct. 8) that all three violations have been tentatively deleted. The case is still showing as open, however.

The two Indiana fatalities followed a safety-related work stoppage on the Moses Wheeler Bridge in Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Transportation shut down that $230 million project for a week and required Walsh workers to attend safety classes after four "completely preventable" accidents in several months.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Contracts; Fatalities; General contractors; Health and safety; OSHA; Walsh Construction

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