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OSHA Poses $72K in Teen Worker’s Death

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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An international construction company is facing $72,000 in proposed penalties and numerous violations in the death of a teenage worker who was crushed by an 1,800-pound bridge panel

The victim, high school student David Kimberl, had been on the job for one week when he was killed Jan. 16 and had never worked in bridge construction before, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was dismantling a section of the old Aucilla River Bridge on U.S. 98 in Lamont, FL, when the panel fell on him.

After an investigation, OSHA cited GLF Construction Corp. for 14 serious violations, including failure to provide fall protection for employees.

Drew Kimberl
Screen grab via WCTV.tv

Drew Kimberl, 18, had been on the job for one week when he was killed. OSHA has cited GLF Construction for 14 safety violations and proposed $72,000 in fines.

GLF Construction, a subsidiary of Rome-based Grandi Lavori Fincosit SpA, is an international construction and engineering company that specializes in heavy civil projects, marine works, major bridge structures, general contracting, design-build and historical renovation.

GLF Construction has its U.S. headquarters in Miami. The company employs more than3,500 people worldwide.

'Paid the Ultimate Price'

"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 and unsafe act is the level of importance an employer places on doing what is right," Sturtecky said.

 In March, an attorney for the victim's family filed an intent to sue the Florida Department of Transportation, the managers of the project, and GLF Construction for $10 million, according to WCTV-TV,

The company did not respond Monday (June 23) to a request for comment.

GLF Construction
glfusa.com

"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," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville.

"An accident like this does not happen without gross negligence, recklessness," Sydney Matthew, the family's attorney, told the media outlet.

14 Serious Violations

The violations allege:

  • Failure to provide fall protection for employees working near the edge of a trestle;
  • Failure to instruct employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions associated with improperly secured bridge panels;
  • Failure to train employees to recognize struck-by hazards while working around cranes;
  • Failure to have at least one lifesaving skiff immediately available where employees were working over or adjacent to water;
  • Use of wire rope with broken strands to lift bridge panels;
  • Use of synthetic slings that had snags, punctures, tears and cuts;
  • Exposing employees working on the trestle to fall hazards by not covering floor holes;
  • Modifying a forklift without the manufacturer's written approval;
  • Not providing stairs or ladders for points of access with elevation breaks of 19 inches or more;
  • Improper landings and railings on stairways leading to the trestle;
  • Operating a crane without a level; and
  • Allowing unqualified employees to rig material for the crane and uncertified employees to signal the crane.

A serious violation is one that carries substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

Matthew told WCTV that GLF Construction was cited for similar repeat violations in 2003. However, a search of OSHA's records Monday could not confirm the alleged citations.

The company has 15 business days from receiving the citations and proposed penalties to comply, contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission, or request a conference with OSHA's area director.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Enforcement; Fall protection; Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA

Comment from Michael Deaton, (6/24/2014, 11:28 AM)

R.I.P. little brother. god be with the family of this young man who tragically didn't even make a week on the project....


Comment from Wes Carter, (6/24/2014, 5:27 PM)

I just don’t understand how only a fine is imposed and no one is held accountable...this really seems like a criminal matter! What am I missing here???


Comment from peter gibson, (6/26/2014, 3:36 PM)

an 18 yo should not be on a hazadous site like that. Hey kid you have to ease into a job like that.


Comment from john lienert, (6/27/2014, 8:39 AM)

someone needs to go to prison.....


Comment from Karen Fischer, (6/27/2014, 8:48 AM)

Peter, I don't agree that an 18 year old shouldn't be on a jobsite. Many young people forego a college education to pursue a career in construction. We don't know for sure how much training he may or may not have had. But I don't believe an UNTRAINED 18 year old should be on a construction project nor do I believe they should be performing work that would expose them to potentially the most hazardous jobs until more experience is gained. If the employer did not provide the proper health & safety training, and he didn't receive the necessary "tradesperson" training, then he shouldn't have been doing potentially hazardous work. Not familiar with Florida but don't Unions provide some training or apprenticeships for some of the trades there? My deepest sympathy to his family for their loss.


Comment from M. Halliwell, (6/27/2014, 1:21 PM)

Well, hopefully the results of the initial investigation will spark some additional questions and, if warranted, something criminal. I do think that charges are an under-utilized tool, especially considering how infrequently we hear about charges being laid in workplace fatalities. My condolences to Mr. Kimberl's family.


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