Authorities are investigating how a bridge worker came to suffer a jolt from a 23,000-volt power line at a construction site near Pittsburgh, PA.
The man, who was not identified, was severely burned in the accident but was breathing and responsive at the scene. The victim was transported to a local medical center, then airlifted to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment.
|Authorities said the crane came in contact with the 23,000-volt power line.|
The project was immediately halted, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating.
The victim is employed by Century Steel Erectors, of Dravosburg, PA. The company did not respond to a request for comment on the accident.
The accident occurred about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday (May 16) at the Veterans Memorial Bridge, now under construction in Bridgewater, PA, authorities said.
Authorities said that a crawler crane staged on a barge in the Beaver River came in direct, or near, contact with a web of power lines above the site. The crane is owned by Century Steel Erectors.
“There was contact made with the wire,” Beaver County Commissioner Dennis Nichols told reporters. “Through the crane in some fashion, the individual has some burns.”
It was not immediately clear whether the crane actually touched the overhead wires or was simply close enough for the power to arc to the crane and down the hoist cables. Reports also conflicted as to whether the victim was inside the crane or outside holding onto a hook at the time.
Dan Grove, director of corporate safety for Century Steel Erectors, told the Beaver County Times that a crane on the ground was being used to build the barge-based crane, which would be used to place beams on the bridge. Grove would not say where the worker was when he was injured.
Photos of the accident site are available here.
The $22 million project includes the construction of a new highway bridge and approaches, replacement of an existing railroad structure, widening of a concrete roadway and other work. The prime contractor is Golden Triangle Construction Company Inc. of Imperial, PA.
Century Steel Erectors has been inspected by OSHA 17 times since 2003 and was cited on 10 different occasions. Most of the fines have been under $5,000. The company has no open cases with OSHA.
OSHA cited Golden Triangle on two occasions in 2003; the company has no other record with OSHA.
This is the first significant accident on the project, which began in the fall of 2010 and is to be completed by the spring of 2014.The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is overseeing construction.
“It’s certainly a very disheartening situation, tragic situation,” said Nichols. “We hope the best for his full recovery.”