• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Ga. Contractors cited after worker killed in bridge collapse

ByLinda W. Smith

May 9, 2022

Two Georgian contractors have been cited after a collapse on a bridge demolition project killed one worker and injured two others, according to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The incident happened Oct. 19 when crews tore down an old bridge as part of the access road replacement project near Interstate 20 Exit 88 in Covington. According to OSHA, an overloaded section of the bridge collapsed and fell into the Yellow River about 50 feet below. A concrete saw weighing over 1,700 pounds fell with the bridge section and landed on Demario Battle, 33, who died in hospital from his injuries.

Battle and another worker who was seriously injured in the collapse were loading concrete saws into a truck, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. An excavator operator on the bridge was also injured when he and the machine fell into the river.

Battle and the other worker loading the saws worked for subcontractor B&D Concrete Cutting Inc. of Atlanta. The company faces proposed fines of $25,669. The general contractor, which employed the excavator operator, was Georgia Bridge and Concrete LLC of Tucker, Georgia, which faces proposed penalties of $31,283.

OSHA cited B&D Concrete Cutting for the following alleged violations and proposed penalties: employer does not know or could not have known of the violation.)

  • The saw cutting of the curbs and deck of the bridge caused overloading and failure of the bridge. Serious offense, $14,502.
  • The employer failed to ensure that an engineering survey was carried out by a competent person before employees saw the curbs and deck of the bridge cut, exposing them to the risk of falls and collisions. Serious offense, $11,167.

OSHA cited Georgia Bridge and Concrete for the following alleged violations and proposed penalties:

  • Employees were exposed to falls and struck by hazards when they saw curbs and a bridge deck cut, causing the bridge to overload and fail. Serious offense, $14,502.
  • The company did not ensure that a technical study was carried out by a competent person before the bridge dismantling operations, exposing the workers to the risk of falls and collisions. Serious offense, $11,747.
  • Employees refueling equipment were exposed to fire hazards because there was no fire extinguisher available within 25 to 75 feet of two diesel fuel pumps. Serious offense, $5,034. There were also no smoking signs on the pumps.
  • Employees operating a JLG 600SJ telescopic boom lift during a bridge dismantling operation were exposed to a fall hazard in that the controls on the platform control console were not clearly marked for identify their function. Violation other than serious, no monetary penalty.

“Had employers conducted a proper investigation into this highly technical project, the tragic loss of one worker and serious injury to another may not have occurred,” said Joshua Turner, regional office manager for OSHA in Atlanta-East. “Established safety standards exist to ensure that workers return home safely and do not leave their families, friends and communities to mourn a preventable death.”

Both companies have 15 business days from the April 15 citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or challenge the findings before the independent body. Occupational Safety and Health Review Board.

An aerial view of the collapsed bridge section.Georgia DOT East

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