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Teen Worker Dies on Bridge Project

Friday, September 25, 2015

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A teenage bridge worker in northwest Wisconsin died Monday (Sept. 21) after being injured in a forklift accident.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Duluth, MN, identified the victim as 18-year-old Kelsey Hagenson, according to an article in the Grand Forks Herald. Hagenson graduated from high school earlier this year.

The teen was employed by Lunda Construction, of Black River Falls, WI, which is the main contractor working on the a two-year rehabilitation project on the Bong Bridge, according to the daily newspaper. Another worker, who was not identified, also was injured in the accident.

WisDOT

The deceased worker was employed by Lunda Construction, of Black River Falls, WI, which is the main contractor working on the a two-year rehabilitation project on the Bong Bridge.

The medical examiner said Hagenson died from “multiple blunt force injuries due to a pedestrian-forklift mishap,” according to the daily paper. Neither he nor the injured man was operating the forklift at the time of the accident, authorities reportedly said.

Federal Investigation

The bridge project is being managed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. According to WisDOT’s website, it is the most significant project on the bridge since it opened in 1984.

Hark Hysell, the area director for northwest Wisconsin in OSHA’s Eau Claire office, said Wednesday (Sept. 23) that the agency is investigating the death, as is standard practice for workplace fatalities. Hysell said the investigation could tax up to six months to complete.

Because the bridge is owned by the state of Wisconsin and is being rehabilitated by WisDOT, Hysell also said that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in charge of the investigation rather than the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, which is a state-run plan. According to reports, the death occurred on the Minnesota side of the bridge.

Previous Fatality

Lunda Construction specializes in the transportation industry, according to its website. Its projects include bridges and railroads, as well as industrial buildings.

A review of OSHA’s online inspection data revealed that Lunda has undergone 31 inspections in the past five years. Those do not include the fatality earlier this week, but they do include a 2012 fatality at another bridge site.

In the previous fatality, Lunda paid $21,000 in fines for three serious violations, according to the inspection data report.

A call placed to Lunda Construction on Wednesday (Sept. 23) afternoon was referred to the company’s in-house attorney, who did not return a voicemail message asking for comment.

Bridge Project

The Bong Bridge carries U.S. Route 2 across the Saint Louis Bay from Superior, WI, to Minnesota just south of Duluth.

The project includes overlaying the existing bridge deck and making repairs to the sidewalk; replacing and repairing arch components and recoating them; replacing existing expansion joints and repainting grinder ends; and replacing street lights and ship navigation lanes.

According to an Aug. 28 article in the Duluth News Tribune, the $11 million project on the 11,800-foot-long bridge is on schedule to be completed by November.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Fatalities; Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); Health & Safety; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Roads/Highways

Comment from paul graham, (9/29/2015, 6:59 AM)

To the family of this working young man , my condolences and may god guide him well...


Comment from paul graham, (9/29/2015, 6:59 AM)

To the family of this working young man , my condolences and may god guide him well...


Comment from Car F., (10/1/2015, 10:49 AM)

Crime is rampant and it seems to be out of control in some industries. To the family of this working young man: I hope you succeed in pursuing criminal charges against the criminal who killed your son.


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