The Florida contractor was cited after the worker died in the crane incident

A 47-year-old worker died at a large toll-road project in Florida after being struck in the chest by a concrete pile freed from a crane, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

The worker was allowed to work in the crane’s load danger zone when he was struck on Oct. 6, 2021, at the Pinellas Gateway Expressway project in Clearwater, OSHA said.

He is an employee of Archer Western-De Moya JV II, a joint-venture contractor that is building two new elevated toll roads between U.S. 19 and I-275. The venture contractor faces proposed penalties of $ 60,084, issued April 4 by OSHA.

According to OSHA, three employees were inside a trench box cutting concrete piles to build footers for elevated lanes. They were cutting the piles with gas -powered chop saws when a pile came loose and hit the worker’s chest and pinned him to the wall, the agency said.

The crane operator used the crane to pull the load sideways, and cut the tie wire surrounding the pile, OSHA determined.

The “crane operator and foreman failed to follow the crane manufacturer’s procedures, thus, the operator did not warn any employee within the danger zone or did not wait and ensure that no employees remained in the danger zone before applying the tension. at load, which exposed employees to struck-by or crush-by hazards, ”the citation said.

The citation also said that the operator and signal person did not agree on the unusual hand signals to be used before lifting the cement.

The contractor did not provide training to identify and avoid unsafe conditions, and the permanent wire rope sling tags containing capacity information were damaged, according to OSHA.

In total, the company faces five serious violations for a total of proposed penalties of $ 60,084. Severe penalties are those in which a hazard in the workplace could result in an accident that is likely to result in death or injury, unless the employer is unaware or unaware of the violation.

The joint-venture contractor consists of The Walsh Group of Chicago, its subsidiary Archer Western of Atlanta, and The De Moya Group Inc. of Miami. It has 15 business days to fight citations.

The incident could have been prevented if the contractor had “taken the necessary steps to identify and minimize safety hazards,” said OSHA Area Office Director Danelle Jindra in Tampa.

The $ 600 million Gateway Expressway project includes a new four-lane tolled expressway connecting U.S. 19 and I-275, and a new four-lane elevated tollway from Bayside Bridge to I-275, according to the Florida Department of Transportation . I-275 will also be widened to add a toll lane in each direction. Work began in 2017 and is expected to be completed early next year.

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