VA Bridge Inspection Equipment Co. Suspended
Just last month, the Federal Highway Administration made the decision to suspend under bridge inspection vehicles company McClain and Co. Inc. (Culpeper, Virginia) from participating in any federal procurement and non-procurement transactions.
McClain and Co. Inc. rents and leases under bridge inspection vehicles to government agencies and various engineering companies for bridge maintenance and inspection projects. These UBI vehicles contain a movable boom with attached platform. While completing a bridge inspection, the UBI vehicle is positioned on top of the bridge while the boom lifts inspectors on the platform either beside or below the bridge’s deck.
In August 2015, a routine bridge inspection turned fatal in Connecticut. William Shook, an employee of McClain and Co., was killed after an on-site snooper truck tipped over and crushed him while setting up for a job.
Shortly after, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation about the incident and began collecting information and conducting interviews. This accident was the first of two that same week involving a snooper truck owned by McClain.
On Sept. 5, 2018, McClain’s owner, Daniel McClain, of Virginia, and McClain’s former equipment manager, Kenneth Mix, of Pennsylvania, were indicted in Hartford, Connecticut’s U.S. District Court on two counts of false documents, one count of falsifying records in a federal investigation and two counts of wire fraud.
The charges stem from both defendants’ alleged roles occurring approximately between January 2012 and January 2015, in producing false Certificates of Unit Tests/Examinations of Material Handling Devices for UBI vehicles in addition to providing false information to OSHA during the investigation of the August 2015 death.
According to the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Mix helped Carol Smith, president and chief surveyor for Martin Enterprises Inc., produce examination certificates for McClain’s UBI vehicle fleet. The false documents indicated that the vehicles had been inspected in compliance with federal requirements, although Mix and Smith knew that was incorrect.
The report also indicated that Daniel McClain paid Smith for issuing these certificates and forwarded OSHA an internal fatality investigation report that detailed the accident was “attributable to operator error.”
Prior to suspension of the company, FHWA suspended Mix in April 2018 and Daniel McClain in November 2018.
The DOT-OIG is partnering with the Department of Labor OIG in conducting further investigations.