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MA Bridge Worker Falls to His Death

Thursday, September 6, 2012

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Authorities are investigating the death of a bridge worker who fell 60 feet through a gap on Interstate 91 in Springfield, MA.

Robert Parrott, 46, of Fitchburg, landed near a railroad track and was killed instantly in the fall about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 29, state police said.

Parrott, a member of Laborers’ Union Local No. 39, worked for Liddell Brothers Inc., of Halifax, MA, a 42-year-old family-owned firm that specializes in traffic services and highway construction along the East Coast.

 Liddell Brothers specializes in traffic safety services, including those for overhead structures, along the East Coast.

 Liddell Brothers Inc.

Liddell Brothers specializes in traffic safety services, including those for overhead structures, along the East Coast. The company is a frequent MassDOT contractor.

Liddell Brothers was working as a contractor for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation at the time of the accident. The company has been a frequent contractor on MassDOT projects.

Parrott was part of a night-shift crew that was “deploying safety devices to protect our engineers performing a bridge inspection on I-91,” MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola said in a statement. The statement did not elaborate.

Investigations Underway

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Massachusetts State Police, and other authorities are investigating the accident.

In a statement released to the local ABC affiliate, Liddell Brothers’ lawyer said Parrott had fallen “while performing work on U.S. I-91 by Exit 7 in the Springfield, MA, area.”

 An elevated section of southbound I-91 runs through downtown Springfield, MA.

 Bostonroads.com / Jim K. Georges

An elevated section of southbound I-91 runs by downtown Springfield, MA.

“To the best of our knowledge, at the time of Mr. Parrott’s death, he and a co-worker were working in cooperation with a detail officer of the Massachusetts State Police,” said the statement by attorney Richard Wayne. “The work being performed was pursuant to a service contract between Liddell Brothers and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.”

The statement offered no details of the fall or did not say whether Parrott had been equipped with fall protection.

Liddell has been hired as the general contractor on 55 MassDOT projects over the years, DePaola said.

Experienced Worker

Wayne said Parrott had been employed by Liddell Brothers for several years. “He was an excellent worker, had many years of work experience, and was highly regarded by the Company, his co-workers and colleagues,” the statement said.

“I and the Company wish to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Parrott’s family and friends.”

DePaola said, “Safety is our number-one priority. If reviews of this incident, by our law enforcement or safety partners, reveal changes are necessary to improve safety in our work zones, we will implement those changes.”

OSHA Record

Liddell Brothers has a record with OSHA. According to the agency’s records:

• In June 2008, Liddell Brothers paid a $3,600 fine (reduced from $6,000) for two serious violations related to crane and derrick hazards.

• In April 2008, the company was cited for three repeat violations involving protective systems and excavation hazards. It paid a fine of $7,980, reduced from $11,400.

• In June 2007, Liddell Brothers was cited for one willful and five serious violations and paid a $35,000 fine (reduced from $57,000). The willful violation—OSHA’s highest level of infraction—was related to protective systems. The other violations related to excavation hazards and lack of head protection.

• In 2005, the company was fined $2,500 for two serious violations involving aerial lifts and lack of fall protection.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Construction; Fall protection; Health and safety; Inspection; OSHA; Roads/Highways

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