US Department of Labor cites 2 Georgia construction contractors after Yellow River bridge collapse takes worker’s life
COVINGTON, GA – A federal workplace safety investigation has determined that two companies failed to follow required safety standards that could have prevented a bridge collapse and spared the life of a 33-year-old worker on a demolition project in Covington on Oct. 19, 2021.
B&D Concrete Cutting Inc. of Atlanta and Georgia Bridge and Concrete LLC of Tucker did not conduct a proper engineering survey and, as the access road bridge over the Yellow River was being dismantled, an overstressed section of the bridge collapsed and fell into the river. During the collapse, a concrete saw weighing more than 1,700 pounds struck and fatally injured the worker employed by B&D Concrete Cutting. A second B&D worker suffered injuries and was hospitalized.
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators cited B&D Concrete Cutting Inc. and Georgia Bridge and Concrete LLC – the project’s prime contractor – for not ensuring a competent person had performed an engineering survey before allowing workers to begin the dismantling project. Additionally, company personnel did not ensure procedures were in place to prevent structural members from being overstressed during dismantling operations. This failure exposed employees to fall and struck-by hazards.
“If the employers had conducted a proper survey on this highly technical project as required, the tragic loss of one worker and serious injuries to another may not have happened,” said OSHA Area Office Director Joshua Turner in Atlanta-East. “Established safety standards exist to ensure workers get home safely and don’t leave families, friends and communities to grieve a preventable fatality.”
OSHA also cited Georgia Bridge and Concrete for failing to keep a fire extinguisher within 75 feet of two equipment refueling stations. The agency proposed penalties of $31,283 for Georgia Bridge and Concrete and $25,669 for B&D Concrete Cutting.
B&D Concrete Cutting Inc. – formerly known as B&K Concrete Cutting – is a construction contractor specializing in cutting and removal within commercial, industrial, transportation, aviation and healthcare industries. Georgia Bridge and Concrete LLC – formerly known as Sunbelt Structures Inc. – specializes in bridge and heavy civil construction.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and free help on complying with OSHA standards.