According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Walsh Construction Co. and Vinci Construction Grand Projects have been cited for a total of $21,379 in proposed fines following a crane collapse that occurred at the eastern Ohio River bridge project earlier this year.
The incident, which occurred on Feb. 19 in Louisville, Ky., involved a large crane that fell into the river during routine construction work. Although no one was injured, a worker did fall into the river and had to be rescued.
Bill Cochran, the OSHA area director for the agency’s Nashville office, later confirmed that the crane collapse was caused by the machine’s wind indicator, which was not working at the time of the incident. OSHA also learned in its investigation that the crane was not being operated in accordance to its recommendations for the angle of the boom.
The two violations OSHA levied on the companies were determined to be “serious,” which OSHA defines as something that may, “cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.”
An official with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 181 also commented on the crane collapse, stating that cranes should not be operated in winds exceeding 30 miles per hour. The winds on the day of the crane collapse were found to be up to 50 miles per hour.
Both companies on the construction site belonged to WVB East End Partners group. The group is responsible for overseeing the eastern segment, including the span between Utica, Ind., and Prospect, Ky., as well as the roads leading to it on both sides of the river. WVB East End Partners released the following statement in regards to the federal fines for the crane collapse:
“WVB does not typically comment on such citations,” spokesman Dan Hartlage said in a statement. “That said, we continually strive to make our work zones safe for our employees and the public. Safety is our top priority.”
The spokesman did not confirm whether the companies plan to contest the fines or not.