OSHA Completes Inspection of Fatal Collapse

OSHA investigated a fatal structural steel\r\ncollapse at a Milford, Conn., power plant construction site and has\r\ncited the company responsible for erecting the plant with safety and\r\nhealth violations.

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OSHA completed its investigation of a fatal structural steel collapse at a Milford, Conn., power plant construction site and has cited the company responsible for erecting the plant with safety and health violations.

On Feb. 2, 2000, the steel structure of a multi-story steam generator unit that was under construction collapsed, landing on a crane, the boom of which in turn struck two aerial lifts being used by workers.

Two workers in one of the aerial lifts were killed; the worker in the second lift and the crane operator were seriously injured.

According to Clifford S. Weston, OSHA area director in Bridgeport, Conn., the inspection found that Black & Veatch Construction Inc., the Missouri-based contractor responsible for the erection of the generator unit, did not follow the established erection procedures for the unit.

Specifically, temporary diagonal bracing that was being used to support the unit during its erection had been removed prematurely, thus compromising the unit''s stability.

This in turn left employees working adjacent to the unstable unit exposed to crushing and traumatic injuries from the potential collapse of the unstable structure.

"The inspection found that the diagonal bracing was removed earlier than the erection procedures called for, leaving the structure vulnerable to collapse," said Weston. "If proper erection procedures had been adhered to, this structure would not have collapsed."

As a result, OSHA cited Black & Veatch for allegedly exposing employees to the hazards of crushing and traumatic injuries and proposed a fine of $7,000.

Weston noted that one feasible method of abating the cited hazard would be to follow structural erection procedures and, in the event of necessary deviation from those procedures, have an engineer or an individual knowledgeable in structural engineering first properly evaluate the deviation to consider its impact on the structure''s stability.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalties to elect to comply or contest them.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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