Workers Fall From Peoria Bridge

April 25, 2000
A construction platform on a bridge at least 50 feet above the Illinois River in Peoria, Ill., fell yesterday, plunging\r\nfive workers into the water.

A construction platform on the McClugage Bridge at least 50 feet above the Illinois River in Peoria, Ill., fell yesterday, plunging five workers into the water.

Three were killed and a fourth was impaled by a pipe.

One man was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly after he was pulled from the river.

Two other bodies were found after a crane pulled a pile of platform wreckage from the water, Peoria County Coroner Dan Heinz said.

"They got the scaffolding out and that''s when they found them" in about five feet of water, said Heinz.

The workers were part of a construction crew replacing the bridge deck.

Divers could not see because of the mud and silt in the water, according to Roy Modglin, assistant Peoria fire chief. "What they were doing, they were doing all by feel."

Jack Franklin, executive vice president of Midwest Foundation Corp., the company handling the construction, said officials planned to meet today with workers who survived Monday''s accident. The project has been halted until further notice.

A hospital spokesman said one injured worker was impaled by a pipe and was in fair condition after several hours in surgery.

A man who jumped into the river to try to help the fallen workers was treated for hypothermia and released.

The victims'' were identified as Robert L. Foulks, 55, and Ronald F. Watson, 50, both of Peoria, and John W. Irby, 37, of Lacon, the Peoria County Coroner''s office said.

Barry Salerno, assistant area director for OSHA''s Peoria office, said investigators will interview workers and managers to pinpoint the cause and determine whether Midwest violated any safety regulations. He said the report could take six months to complete.

The bridge, which is nearly a mile long, is on the north side of the central Illinois city of 110,000.

According to OSHA''s Web site, the last time Midwest was involved in a fatal accident was in 1985, when a carpenter was crushed by an overloaded crane that overturned during work on a bridge in Milan, Ill.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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