Tragic Bridge Construction Incident in Fort Lauderdale Raises Safety Concerns
In a devastating incident that occurred last December on Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale, a bridge construction worker lost his life when a lift collapsed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Labor, has attributed the accident to The de Moya Group, a well-known highway and bridge construction company based in Northwest Miami-Dade. However, the company vehemently denies OSHA’s findings and intends to challenge the citation, which proposes a significant fine of $58,942.
The de Moya Group was responsible for the expansion of a bridge located south of Sunrise Boulevard, adjacent to the southbound lanes of I-95. Tragically, while two employees were working on a lift, a 90-foot long, 35,000-pound concrete pile broke free from its restraints due to unstable soil conditions. The pile struck the lift’s boom, causing the workers to fall onto the roadway below. One worker, aged 46, tragically lost his life, while a 52-year-old colleague sustained injuries.
OSHA’s investigation into the incident led to the issuance of a Citation and Notification of Penalty against The de Moya Group, highlighting four Serious violations and one Other-Than-Serious violation. The serious violations include failure to provide adequate ground conditions, neglecting to inspect the crane’s operator’s cab windows for cracks, skipping monthly inspections of the crane, and using a modified swing control on the crane, which endangered workers.
Condell Eastmond, the OSHA Area Office Director, expressed deep concern over the tragic accident, emphasizing that it could have been prevented if The de Moya Group had adhered to industry-recognized safety measures mandated by federal regulations. However, The de Moya Group’s risk manager, Elena Valdes, responded to the citation by stating that the company takes jobsite safety seriously and is conducting its own investigation. Valdes also mentioned that the preliminary evaluation contradicts OSHA’s findings, leading the company to contest the citation through the review commission. Furthermore, she assured that The de Moya Group is committed to following all safety protocols to ensure the utmost compliance with necessary safety requirements.
The incident raises significant concerns about the safety practices within the construction industry and highlights the importance of adhering to rigorous safety standards. It serves as a somber reminder of the potential risks faced by workers in the field and the critical role that comprehensive safety measures play in mitigating those risks.
It is essential for construction companies to prioritize employee safety by proactively assessing potential hazards, maintaining regular equipment inspections, and providing thorough training programs. By doing so, tragic incidents like the one on Interstate 95 can be prevented, ensuring a safer working environment for all construction workers.