Safety Hazards Cited at Georgia Bridge

April 18, 2002
OSHA claims company did not protect employees from fall hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties totaling $122,000 against Miami-based Recchi American Inc. GLF Construction Corp. for failing to protect employees from fall hazards at the Sidney Lanier Bridge project in Brunswick, Ga.

OSHA inspectors visited the construction site Oct. 24, 2001, to verify that the company had abated safety hazards found during previous inspections on June 25, 1999, and April 3, 2000. The follow-up inspection found that the hazards cited earlier had been abated, but the company had allowed several of them to reoccur.

As a result, the joint-venture firm was issued three repeat citations with proposed penalties totaling $120,000 for failing to provide fall protection for employees who worked near unguarded openings 180 feet above water, barricade the swing area of a crawler crane so employees could not be hit when the crane moved and secure a crane to a barge so it could not tip over. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited previously for a similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Prior to the inspections, and unrelated to the citations and penalties issued, two employees at the bridge site fell into the water, one from 30 feet, the other from 130 feet, and an unsecured crane toppled over into the water. Luckily, no fatalities resulted from these accidents.

OSHA issued a serious citation with a proposed penalty of $2,000 for failing to protect workers from the risk of impalement upon unguarded steel reinforcing bars protruding from the structure. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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