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Bridge Inspector Drowns in High River

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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RUTHERFORD, NJ--Crews have recovered the body of a bridge inspector who was swept into the Passaic River this week while examining a footbridge across a nearby canal.

Efrain Grajeda, 47, a structural engineer from Monroe Township in central New Jersey, was looking at the bridge with another inspector about 2:45 p.m. Monday (June 15) when fast-rising waters carried him away, according to NorthJersey.com.

The river is normally ankle deep at that point, but "a fast-moving rainstorm turned it into a raging rapid," CBS New York reported.

PassaicRiverSearch
Photos: CBS New York

Crews searched Monday and Tuesday for Efrain Grajeda, a structural engineer swept away in the Passaic River as he was inspecting a footbridge. His body was recovered Wednesday.

The search for Grajeda continued until about 8 p.m. Monday, then resumed Tuesday, then again on Wednesday, when his body was found near the bridge early in the morning.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

Working for the State

Grajeda had worked 16 years for TranSystems Corp., a Pennsylvania-based engineering services company with offices throughout the United States. The New Jersey Department of Transportation had contracted with TranSystems through its bridge inspections program.

According to New Jersey DOT, TranSystems is prequalified for bridge inspections and other highway and traffic engineering work.

The company released a statement after Grajeda’s identity was confirmed.

“Our first thoughts are with Efrain’s family,” a company spokesman said in the statement, reported by NBCNewYork.com. “We express our heartfelt sympathy to them, his colleagues, and the many people whose lives he touched in his professional and personal life.”

OSHA Investigations

TranSystems has had one other on-the-job fatality in the past five years, according to according to OSHA.

In that incident, the company paid a $5,600 fine for a serious violation in July 2010 after a worker in Kansas was hit and killed by an asphalt truck that was backing up.

PassaicRiverSearch

Flash flooding turned the river, normally ankle deep, into fast-moving rapids.

The company was inspected two other times in that period; no other citations were issued.

The Engineer

Grajeda had worked for TranSystems since 1999, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he worked for URS Corp. in Rocky Hill, CT.

He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Grajeda wrote that he was experienced and interested in bridge inspection, design and repair.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Fatalities; Health & Safety; Health and safety; North America; OSHA

Comment from Billy Russell, (6/20/2015, 3:02 PM)

Prayers for this man and his family


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