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Two Killed on CA Bridge Project

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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Two construction workers fell 80 feet to their death when their crane-hoisted basket broke free Friday (May 30) on a bridge project outside of Sacramento, CA.

The workers, part of a crew for San Francisco Bay Area-based Disney Construction Inc., were identifed as Marcus Zane Powell, 25, and Glenn Hodgson, 49, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The men were working on a bridge construction project in Winters, CA, when the basket fell 80 feet onto timbers covering a 30-foot hole that had been dug out for footings for the new Winters Putah Creek Car Bridge, Winters Fire Chief Aaron McAlister told The Sacremento Bee.

The worker operating the crane was the father of one of the victims, the president of Disney Construction, Richard Disney, told the Daily Democrat.

Images: CityofWinters.org

Two construction workers died after falling 80 feet when a crane-hoisted basket they were in broke loose. They were working on building the foundation for the new Winters Putah Creek Car Bridge.

The Winters Fire Department was called shortly before 7 a.m. Friday, according to media reports. The first worker was lifted out of the construction site shortly after 2:30 p.m. Friday; the second worker was retrieved about 12 minutes later, according to The Bee.

No information on whether the workers had fall protection was immediately available.

OSHA Investigating

Crews were building the foundation for the new bridge that connects Solano and Yolo Counties. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in September, and the old bridge was demolished and replaced with a temporary one in January.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday (June 2).

"They were working on building the foundation, doing the things we do every day. Nothing out of the ordinary," Disney told The Bee.

"They called me right away. No one knew the degree, but they said it looks bad," Disney said.

Project Update

The 102-year-old, three-span bridge is being replaced with a five-span concrete bridge that will include two traffic lanes, a sidewalk, and a crosswalk to connect the adjacent trestle bridge. The new bridge, set to open in 2015, will be about 475 feet long by 40 feet wide.

A spokesperson for California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration told KCRA.com that inspectors were looking into the possibility that a hook on the crane malfunctioned.

Cal-OSHA ordered the company to stop operating cranes at the site until "hazardous conditions are abated," according to SFGate.com.

String of CA Fatalities

Just days before the accident, Cal-OSHA announced it would start focusing on safety compliance at construction sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, "following a recent series of fatal accidents in the region."

The 102-year-old, three-span bridge is being replaced with a five-span concrete bridge.

Cal-OSHA said hazards at elevated areas were particularly dangerous and cited four recent incidents throughout California:

  • A worker on a residential project in San Jose fell to his death from a three-story building May 21;
  • On May 20, a worker on a San Mateo project fell nine feet from a wall and sustained fatal head injuries;
  • Also on May 20, a worker in San Diego was killed when a 22-foot rebar column fell on top of him; and
  • A construction worker was killed May 18 when the train bridge he was dismantling in downtown Riverside collapsed and crushed him.

Cal-OSHA is currently investigating all of those incidents.

Falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers, and  federal OSHA has designated June 2-6 as "National Safety Stand-Down" week to encourage employers to talk with workers about fall hazards and prevention.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Contractors; Cranes; Fall protection; Fatalities; OSHA

Comment from Billy Russell, (6/3/2014, 4:43 AM)

Prayers for the Families of theses two men Lost, special consideration for the father who watched his son fall .


Comment from WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN, (6/3/2014, 9:53 AM)

Do not be frustrated with these incidents. Continue doing preventive measures again and again till we have ZERO ACCIDENTS.


Comment from Michael Deaton, (6/3/2014, 11:08 AM)

R.I.P. to 2 more of our fallen brothers. My prayers go out to the families......The risk factor involved on any given project that has multiple crafts working....is extremely high and we are always just one moment away from our day ending well or something like this happening!


Comment from Car F., (6/3/2014, 12:00 PM)

What a terrible accident, my condolences to the family....what a horrible thing for the dad!!! The article does not mention if the suspended aerial bucket – in addition to the load hook – had an additional back up cable connector, in case the main hook fails, I understand that is the rule, is it not?


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