OSHA Fines St. Louis Company $280,000 For Deadly Crane Collapse

A St. Louis-based construction company is facing proposed penalties of $280,000 following a crane collapse during the construction of a bridge in Toledo, Ohio, that resulted in four deaths.

Arden Clark, Robert Lipinski Jr., Mike Moreau and Mike Phillips were killed when the crane collapsed and four others Mark Buck, Josh Collins, Al Hedge and Roger Henneman were injured in the worst construction accident to occur in the area in years.

The company, Fru-Con Construction Corp., was cited for four willful violations of federal workplace safety and health standards, including failure to comply with the manufacturer's instructions for the safe operation of cranes. (See related article, "Crane Disaster Takes Another Life.")

"This tragic accident could have and should have been prevented," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We must ensure that employers protect their workers from occupational hazards, so injury and illness rates continue to decline. The significant fines of $280,000 proposed in this case demonstrate the commitment of this Administration to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."

OSHA's investigation of the Feb. 16 accident found that Fru-Con failed to follow the manufacturers' specifications by failing to sufficiently anchor the crane to the concrete pier segments and pier caps. OSHA also found that the company failed to use any anchoring bars for the rear legs of the crane, and used an insufficient number of anchoring bars for the front legs.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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