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Company Cited After Two Fatalities

Monday, July 21, 2014

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An Alabama construction company faces $54,500 in proposed penalties after two workers were killed in falls from an interstate bridge project in January.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited R.R. Dawson Bridge Company of Bessemer, AL, with one willful and three serious safety violations after its investigation.

OSHA says the workers lacked fall protection.

David Lee White, 63, and Lomax Phillips, 53, died Jan. 8 when they fell about 90 feet to the ground after their aerial lift apparently malfunctioned and fell away from the Alabama overpass where they were working.

R.R. Dawson Bridge Company

Two employees of R.R. Dawson Bridge Company were killed in January when they fell from an Alabama overpass construction project. OSHA has cited the company for four safety violations with $54,500 in proposed penalties.

White and Phillips were both employed by R.R. Dawson Bridge Company, the prime contractor on the multi-year, $500 million, 10-bridge Montgomery Outer Loop project to extend Interstate 85 through western Alabama.

Four Violations

One willful violation was issued for failing to provide employees working near the bridge's edge with required fall protection.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

OSHA fall prevention

OSHA says falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction.

Three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to fall hazards and for failing to inspect employee fall arrest systems before use.

Serious violations are those OSHA says occur 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 about.

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


The families of both victims have filed wrongful-death lawsuits in the case. The suit by Phillips' family names the contractor, a supervisor, Illinois-based equipment maker Miller Formless, and two unidentified parties. The suit by White's family is similar but does not name the supervisor.

Fall Prevention Measures

"Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, but these hazards can be easily identified and eliminated to save lives," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile.

"OSHA will continue to enforce fall protection requirements aggressively to reduce deaths."

The company did not respond to a request for comment last week.

According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death in construction.

The agency has a fall prevention website with detailed information on fall protection standards, as well as fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and preventive measures.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Fall protection; Fatalities; OSHA

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