Two Georgia companies fined in deadly bridge collapse in Covington

A federal workplace investigation has determined that two companies failed to follow required safety standards that could have prevented a bridge collapse in Covington last October that killed one worker and seriously injured another.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators cited B&D Concrete Cutting of Atlanta and Georgia Bridge and Concrete of Tucker – the project’s prime contractor – after an overstressed section of an access road bridge over the Yellow River leading to Interstate 20 that was being dismantled collapsed and fell into the river.  

During the collapse, a concrete saw weighing more than 1,700 pounds struck and killed a worker employed by B&D Concrete Cutting. A second B&D worker was injured and had to be hospitalized.

The OSHA investigation concluded the companies failed to ensure a competent inspector had performed an engineering survey of the bridge before allowing workers to begin the dismantling.

In addition, company personnel did not ensure procedures were in place to prevent structures from being overstressed during dismantling operations. This failure exposed workers to falling 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 Joshua Turner, OSHA’s area office director for 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.

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.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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