The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has identified two men who died Jan. 8 at a construction site in Montgomery County, Ala. The bridge construction site is part of the multi-million dollar Montgomery Outer Loop project. It now serves as the scene of an ongoing investigation into the industrial accident that killed the two construction workers.
The victims, recently identified as 63-year-old David Lee White of Montgomery and 53-year-old Lomax Phillips of Birmingham, were believed to have been operating the man-lift when a bracket failure caused the lift to detach from the side of the bridge, tumbling the two workers and the lift more than 90 feet to the ground.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), out of the 3,945 worker on-the-job fatalities reported in 2012, 19.6 percent took place in the construction industry. The construction industry’s leading cause of death in 2012 was attributed to falls, contributing 278 fatalities of the 775 (36 percent) fatalities recorded in the deadly line of work.
The project’s main contractor, Bessemer, Ala.,-based R.R. Dawson Bridge Company, was listed as the victims’ employer by ALDOT.
ALDOT has since issued a statement saying it “extends sympathy to the families of the two… who were killed.”
The incident occurred at Highway 80 east, beneath the underpass that goes over Interstate 85. The location is roughly halfway between the Waugh and Chantilly exits near mile marker 14.
The Montgomery Outer Loop project includes 10 bridges, consisting of four ramps and six bridges for the re-alignment of State Route 126 and Highway 80. The project aims to connect Interstate 85 at Mitylene to Interstate 65 at Hope Hull.
Although the incident is believed to have been an accident, the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Department has confirmed that an accidental death investigation is underway. The bodies of both victims were taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, which will officially determine the cause of death.
Construction on the Outer Loop project has been temporarily suspended by ALDOT at least until the end of the week. The agency says weather will be the determinant of whether work will resume next week.