Federal authorities have issued serious four citations and leveled a $15,300 fine against the builders of a Mississippi River bridge in the fatal fall of a lift operator near St. Louis last March.
Traylor Brothers Inc.
|Andy Gammon was working from an aerial lift that toppled off a barge in the river. OSHA said.|
Andy Gammon, 35, of Park Hills, MO, was working from the basket of an extended four-wheeled aerial lift on a barge when the lift toppled into the water about 150 feet upstream from the bridge construction site about 10:30 a.m. March 28, authorities said.
Gammon’s body was recovered several days later. He had drowned.
Gammon worked for the joint venture team of Massman Construction, of Kansas City, MO; Traylor Bros. Inc., of Evansville, IN; and St. Louis-based Alberici Enterprises (MTA).
The team is building a new $230 million bridge over the river from St. Louis, MO, to St. Clair County, IL. Construction began in 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations and fines against the entire joint venture equally. The companies have already scheduled a meeting with OSHA to discuss the citations, reports said.
Training, Lift Operation Cited
OSHA accused the companies of improper use of the Genie N80 boom lift that fell, saying employees had not followed manufacturers’ requirement for safe use. The equipment’s operating manual advises that the machine not be used on a moving or mobile surface or vehicle, OSHA said.
The citations also say that employees were not properly trained in the hazards related to installation of pipe pilings. “Employees were thereby exposed to the hazards associated with the displacement of a piling,” OSHA documents say.
The companies are also accused of failing to ensure “frequent and regular inspections of the job site, materials and equipment” by a competent person, to protect employees while pipe pilings were being installed.
Finally, OSHA said, employees working on and around the lift were not trained on the requirements for operating the equipment safely, exposing them to fall, struck-by and drowning hazards.
Work on the project resumed shortly after the accident, and time-lapse video from MODOT shows the project’s progress, including the set-up of the lifts used in the process.
The companies have a clean record with OSHA on this project, but they have mixed records overall, including several fatal accidents.
OSHA cited Traylor on eight occasions from 2002 to 2006 for a variety of issues. The company was also cited as part of several joint ventures, including ventures with Massman. Alberici has also had a few cases with OSHA in the last decade.
Among the incidents OSHA has recorded:
• In 2004, a Traylor carpenter was crushed to death when a concrete form into which he was drilling holes shifted and fell on him. OSHA initially cited the company for four serious violations and issued a $20,000 fine, but later dropped three counts and reduced the fine to $3,000.
• Also in 2004, a Massman-Taylor joint venture was cited for one serious violation related to work over water. The count was later reduced to an other-than-serious general-duty violation, and the JV paid a $3,000 fine.
• In 2005, an employee working for a Massman-Traylor project was killed by an 850-pound steel beam that was cut free from a cofferdam before it was adequately supported by a crane, OSHA records show. The company paid $1,875 for one serious safety violation.
• Also in 2005, an Alberici pre-apprentice millwright lost his hand in a rail conveyor. The company was originally cited for one willful violation—OSHA’s highest level of infraction—and fined $63,000, but the case was settled at one serious violation and a $21,000 fine.
• In 2006, a Traylor employee was crushed by the boom of a crawler crane that collapsed on a barge at a job site in Kentucky. The worker had been helping other employees move a 250-ton derrick from one barge to another, when the boom came loose from the ink well and struck the gantry of the crane. The company paid $4,500 for one serious general-duty violation in that case.
• In 2009, OSHA cited Massman for two serious violations related to noise exposure, but the citations were later dropped.
• In March 2011, Alberici was cited for four serious violations and fined $12,000. The case was later settled for one serious violation and a $1,000 fine.