PaintSquare.com
      | Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise
  

 

Get Paint BidTracker's Bridge Painting Opportunities of 2015

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Owner Cites ‘Human Error’ in Painter’s Death

Friday, December 10, 2010

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

Deer Isle Sedgwick Bridge

A bridge painter who suffered a fatal fall on a worksite in Maine last week was the victim of human error, the owner of the contracting company says.

“Somebody screwed up; there’s no two ways about it,” Stavros Semanderes, owner of Odyssey Contracting (also known as Odyssey Painting Co.), said in an interview Friday (Dec. 10).

“The man was a good worker, a safe worker.”

Authorities said Ercio Gasques, 29, of Newark, NJ, was killed on the afternoon of Dec. 5 when he fell from the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge in Maine, where he was working with two others to dismantle equipment on the last day of a painting project. The bridge, built in 1939, spans Eggemoggin Reach.

Gasques fell about 35 feet and, with the water at low tide, broke his neck on the rocks below, Semanderes said. Gasques died on the way to the hospital.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

Harness, Lanyard Used

Gasques had worked for Odyssey for only about a month but had prior experience and had been assigned to the Deer Isle project since beginning work at Odyssey, Semanderes said

Semanderes said Gasques had been supervising the other two workers in removing rigging from the bridge. Gasques had just radioed the other men to bring a bucket truck to the bridge surface just a few feet above him. The other men were positioning the truck when Gasques fell, Semanderes said.

The two men on the bridge did not see the fall, although one was apparently supposed to have been acting as a spotter, he added.

On the ground, Gasques was found to be wearing a fall harness, with lanyard attached. The harness and lanyards were intact, indicating that Gasques most likely had not been secured properly, Semanderes said. “None of the equipment failed,” he added.

“A line should have been in place,” said Semanderes. “Independent of that, he could have hooked into the steel” on the bridge structure.

2nd Fatal Fall

In October 2009, another painter for Odyssey Contracting perished in a 124-foot fall while working on the McKees Rock Bridge in McKees Rock, PA. Michael L'Hereaux, 54, of Ohio was conducting abrasive blasting under the Pittsburgh end of the bridge and fell from a two-point suspension scaffold.

The scaffold gave way when L’Hereaux accidentally turned his blast equipment on a cable that was holding the scaffold, an OSHA investigation later found. The blast medium cut through the cable. L’Hereaux had been issued a safety harness but was not wearing it at the time, an OSHA spokeswoman said this week.

Nevertheless, the firm admitted to five serious citations (reduced from six) and a fine of $12,600 (reduced from $16,800) after an informal settlement with OSHA. Semanderes said those citations did not involve L’Hereaux but stemmed from other issues uncovered during the investigation into his death.

Previous Citation

OSHA also issued Odyssey a single serious citation in August on the Deer Isle project for allegedly transporting a crew of four in the back of a pickup truck. OSHA said that the crew was taken to and from the worksite in the truck when they should have been seated. Semanderes disputed the accusation and said the truck traveled only 15 mph.

That citation, and an accompanying proposed penalty of $1,500, are pending.

“They were experienced painters,” said Semanderes. “We are a safe company. We’ve been a safe company.”

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Fall protection; Protective coatings

Comment from Otis Hale, (12/13/2010, 9:01 AM)

Bridge painting is inherently some of the most dangerous work in the world, and downrigging always has the potential to kill you. To lose a man per year is somewhat extreme, though. Any guy ignorant enough to blast through his own rigging was never trained properly.


Comment from Tom Latorre, (12/13/2010, 9:31 AM)

I agree with the dangers of bridge painting projects but I knew Mike & he was not ignorant. Accidents do happen. I wish for his sake & the sake of his family he would have been tied off.


Comment from carlos rosales, (12/13/2010, 10:14 AM)

It doesn't take much, but if you have a harness on, hook it. Unfortunately in our business, "IT ONLY TAKES ONCE." Mask, filters, harness, lanyards and gloves are cheaper than coffins.


Comment from mark WILECZEK, (12/13/2010, 11:03 AM)

We work in a dangerous industry with the potential for injury is always present.Odyssey needs to do some soul searching and examine it's own safety training and management commitment to safety if it expects to survive as a company in this industry.


Comment from bruce loudon, (12/13/2010, 3:44 PM)

Having been in this business for 30 years at all levels from mechanic to project management, I have seen instances time after time where one lapse in judgement has ended with serious consequences. Injury and death cannot be tolerated. Companies and supervisors need to be pro-active and progressive. A job safety analysis and serious consequences for repeat safety violators has to be the life-blood of any competent contractor.


Comment from DANIEL COSTANTINI, (12/13/2010, 3:49 PM)

I have worked for Odyssey, Stavro is extremely safety conscious and gives a worker what ever is necessary to perform any task safely. he is probably the safest contractor i have worked for hands down. The worker i am certain had not tied off and you can only lead the horse to water. Our business is tough yet it is on the man to use the equipment.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

RPB Respiratory
AN INSTANTLY CLEAN VISOR? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

With RPB Safety’s new Nova 3 Cassette Lens System which has been specifically designed to save you time and money! See the benefits for yourself now!


Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.


SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
http://www.sspc.org/

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !


Termarust Technologies
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion

Pipeline Utility Aerial crossings coated since 1992. Termarust's (HR CSA) was used to overcoat lead paint and preserve cables, pipes and support towers.


Minerals Research & Recovery

HIGH PERFORMANCE ABRASIVES


“Made in the USA!”

Why recycle waste from other countries? Go FASTER, CLEANER, at 1/3 THE COST with MR&R “All-American” Sharpshot®HP!!

WATCH THE VIDEO


U.S. Zinc
Logistics. Rely On U.S.

Whether via rail, truck, sea or air, you can trust our logistics services to deliver the product you need on time, every time.


Binks/DeVilbiss
Built for Tough Jobs

From Epoxies to Urethanes to other high solid coatings, the new Binks Airless 75 delivers a great finish using an ergonomic design. Visit binks.com for more information.


Atlantic Design, Inc.
ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS, NOT EXCUSES

See our website for features of our best seller, the ADI 3500CFM 4-Pot Blast Vacuum Recycler. A smaller package with all the ADI power you need. 866.Call.ADI


Abrasives Inc.
See the difference immediately Black Magic®

Quality blast abrasive goes farther. Use Black Magic® The Tough Stuff coal slag. Cleaner, consistent, less dust. Order yours today!
Abrasives Inc. 800-584-7524


HoldTight Solutions Inc.
NO FLASH RUST -
NO CONTAMINANTS

Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rust preventer prevents flash
rust by removing surface contaminants. It has no equal; only wannabees.
Contact us for your
nearest distributor.
(800) 319.8802 sales@holdtight.com

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com