Most construction workers know that their line of work is not without its
dangers. Because of the potentially risky nature of the work, employers
have a responsibility to ensure that employees are protected from harm
as much as possible. When safety standards are not met,
construction accidents can occur, with tragic consequences.
Earlier this year, a worker was killed and another injured at a bridge
construction site in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The construction company
has been fined for safety violations that led to the accident.
The two men were employed by JD Eckman Inc., a bridge construction firm
based in Chester County. While at work in a trench beneath the Linden
Street Bridge in Allentown, the trench walls suddenly collapsed in on
them burying them in debris.
A 21-year-old worker was found alive after a rescue mission was launched,
and escaped with a shoulder injury.
Tragically the other worker, a 20-year-old man, did not survive. By the
time his body was removed from the trench hours after the accident, a
crowd had gathered, and a tearful construction worker also looked on.
The two young men were reportedly lifelong best friends.
An investigation into the construction accident was launched by the US
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The construction
company was fined $14,000 after two major violations were discovered.
Pennsylvania investigators found that the firm did not have a "competent
person frequently and regularly" making sure that the site was safe.
They also issued the company with a citation for failing to adequately
train employees to use site equipment.
According to OSHA reports, the company has been fined almost $16,000 since
2005 for 11 different safety violations. The company has 15 days to either
pay the fines or challenge the violations with OSHA.
Source: The Morning Call, "Company fined-cited for bridge death," Kevin Amerman, 05 July 2011