Bridge Mishap Leaves Painters Hanging


Two bridge painters can thank their fall protection for saving their lives after a support platform gave way and left them dangling from the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge in New York.

The workers were able to pull themselves to safety on their harnesses and walk away unscathed after the harrowing episode May 21.

Despite the happy ending, authorities want to know what happened, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

Containment Construction

The New York State Bridge Authority said that the men had been working on the underside of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge when temporary supports collapsed, leaving them hanging from their safety harnesses high over the Hudson River.

The workers had been stringing steel cables to support a containment system for the painting project, officials said.

Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
New York State Bridge Authority

Kiska Construction-USA is rebuilding the deck of the bridge's southern span.

According to OSHA, the workers were employed by Kiska Construction - USA, which received a $93 million contract in January to rebuild the deck of the bridge's southern span.

Kiska USA, a division of Kiska Construction Corp. of Ankara, Turkey, is a general construction and industrial painting contractor.

Kiska did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday (June 5).

About the Bridge

At 7,800 feet long, the Newburgh-Beacon (officially, the Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge) is the busiest of the five bridges operated by the state bridge authority, which is also investigating the accident.

Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
New York State Bridge Authority

Nearly 8,000 feet long, the Newburgh-Beacon is the busiest of five bridges operated by the New York State Bridge Authority.

About 25 million vehicles cross the articulated deck truss bridge each year.

The bridge's north span, which opened in 1963 at a cost of $19.5 million, is 7,855 feet long. The south span, which opened in 1980 at a cost of $93.6 million, is 7,789 feet long.

Tradition has it that Native Americans regularly crossed the Hudson River at the point between what is now Beacon and Newburgh, long before Europeans arrived in America.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Containment; Fall protection; Health & Safety; OSHA; Painting Contractors; Steel

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.