Cal/OSHA Issues Citations, Fines Following Investigation of Bridge Collapse

June 1, 2004
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued two citations carrying $19,215 in penalties to C.C. Myers Inc. as a result of its investigation into the Dec. 3, 2003 collapse of the Imola Avenue Bridge construction project over the Napa River, which resulted in the death of one employee and injuries to three others.

Cal/OSHA's investigation uncovered evidence that the three 100-ton hydraulic jacks used to raise the bridge construction's falsework were placed up to two inches off center, predisposing them to shifting under the weight they supported. The investigation also revealed that C.C. Myers Inc. had not obtained permits needed to construct the 60-foot high structure, which would have provided a higher level of scrutiny of the project, and did not have structural plans for the falsework at the job site.

One serious accident-related citation was issued for allowing the falsework to be raised without being properly supported, braced and maintained.

"The accident-related characterization of the citation reflects Cal/OSHA's conclusion that failure to follow the requirement was directly related to the collapse of the structure," said Cal/OSHA Acting Chief Len Welsh.

The project involves construction of a new concrete bridge over the Napa River and Napa Valley Railroad. At the time of the accident, the falsework, which was constructed to support the poured-in-place concrete bridge deck, was being raised into position. The collapse occurred while eight employees from three separate employers were on or around the structure.

Under California law, as with federal OSHA, an employer has 15 days to appeal citations and penalties to the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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