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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 08-1818-ATL (315)
Dec. 22, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2078

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites American Bridge following fatality at Tennessee River bridge construction site

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is citing American Bridge for six safety violations, including a fine of $70,000 for one willful violation in connection with an employee's death.

The employee died after falling approximately 70 feet from a girder at the site of the Highway 62/641 bridge being built over the Tennessee River below Grand Rivers, Ky. The victim was wearing a harness and lanyard but was not secured to an anchorage point.

"This company has a fall protection plan, but management's failure to enforce their own safety and health policy resulted in this totally avoidable fatality," said William Cochran, OSHA's area director in Nashville.

OSHA is citing the company with one willful violation for failing to eliminate employee exposure to fall hazards and failing to ensure that employees properly used personal protective equipment while working above heights of 6 feet. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. The $70,000 fine is the maximum allowed by OSHA statute for a willful violation.

The agency is issuing four serious citations to the company for using pulleys that were not guarded on the winch gear, not barricading the swing radius on the cranes, not securing material against accidental displacement, and not using conforming fall protection systems. Each violation carries a $5,000 fine. The company received one other-than-serious citation, with no monetary penalty, for a recordkeeping violation.

OSHA is proposing a total of $90,000 in fines for the combined violations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Nashville Area Office, 51 Century Blvd., Suite 340; telephone 615-232-3803.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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