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Colorado company cited by OSHA for fatal construction accident

A general contractor from Colorado and a subcontractor from another state received multiple fines following a bridge collapse that caused a fatality in May last year. The construction accident took place in another state where a construction crew was preparing to remove a railway crossing. This formed part of a project that involved the upgrade of a highway and construction of an interchange.

The worker who lost his life was reportedly on a section of the bridge and was busy torch cutting a floor beam when the bridge collapsed. A safety harness had secured him to the section of the bridge that collapsed, and he was flung to the pavement below as he fell 22 feet attached to the bridge segment. Authorities said the 59-year-old man was rushed to an area hospital where he died later.

A report from the state's Department of Industrial Relations said the subcontractor had used a front-end loader inappropriately to support a segment of the construction. This load was too heavy for the machine, and it toppled toward the area where the man was working. One of the subcontracting company's owners is disputing this opinion, saying the front-end loader was not used for that purpose.

Construction workers in Colorado face hazardous situations on a daily basis, and workers who suffer injuries in a construction accident may find comfort in knowing that workers' compensation insurance fund benefits will provide assistance. The benefits typically cover medical expenses and lost wages for the time that one needs to recuperate. Families that have lost loved ones in such accidents will receive death benefits to cover end-of-life costs, along with financial assistance for the spouse and any dependents.

Source: pe.com, "91 FREEWAY: Companies face fines in fatal bridge collapse", David Downey and Brian Rokos, Dec. 31, 2014

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