A Texas contractor faces almost $31,000 in penalties after federal safety officials found that undersized bolts and overloaded scaffolding contributed to an April accident in Arkansas that resulted in the deaths of three workers. While OSHA hasn’t released the specific cause of the accident, the agency cited Oscar Renda Contracting Inc. for eight workplace safety violations. The employees fell 50 feet into the Arkansas River when the 5,000-pound-plus platform they were working on detached from a dolly on Interstate 430 and fell into about 20 feet of water. Rescue workers recovered the bodies of two of the men, but not the other.
Among other concerns, OSHA citations raised questions as to whether the scaffolding was designed and inspected to ensure it could handle the weight of workers and equipment. Also, the men were not wearing flotation devices designed for high-impact activity, according to the citations. The company faces $30,800 in proposed penalties. The men were building a water pipeline underneath the I-430 bridge. The workers were installing brackets for two 30-inch water mains. This was on a $6.4 million pipeline project of a larger $43 million initiative to increase water capacity for Cabot, Jacksonville, the North Pulaski Waterworks Association and Central Arkansas Water. OSHA investigators found swivel bolts connecting the top of the scaffolding to the dolly’s ballast plate were a half-inch smaller than the holes. The size difference allowed the bolts to move vertically within the openings as traffic passed over the bridge.
Also, the scaffold platform and associated hardware were not rated to support the weight of the men and their equipment, and a recommended backup cable system wasn’t attached to the platform. In addition, ropes used in suspending the scaffold platform reportedly weren’t inspected before each work shift. Oscar Renda Contracting also was cited for not having a rescue boat immediately available in the area and for not recording the deaths on a log filed later with OSHA. Work on the water-pipe project stopped the day of the accident. While the contract with Oscar Renda Contracting is still valid, work was suspended until the company submits an updated construction plan.
Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.