You may recall that our firm filed a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of a work-related accident that occurred at a bridge construction site located east of Montgomery. Now R.R. Dawson Bridge Co. LLC, the contractor on that job, has received four safety violations from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The fines resulted from an investigation into the falling deaths of the two workers who were killed. The workers, Lomax Phillips and David Lee White, were killed in January when a lift they were working in during the construction of the Interstate 85 Outer Loop overpass fell 90 feet to the ground. In the lawsuits, the families of each of the men are suing R.R. Dawson Bridge Co. Joseph Roesler, who is OSHA’s area director in Mobile, stated in a release:
Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, but these hazards can be easily identified and eliminated to save lives. OSHA will continue to enforce fall protection requirements aggressively to reduce deaths.
OSHA says the bridge company failed to provide employees working near the bridge’s edge with required fall protection. This resulted in a willful violation by the company. It should be noted that a willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. Three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to fall hazards and for failing to inspect employee fall arrest systems before use. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, according to OSHA.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that in Alabama there were 84 fatalities in 2012 and 4,628 in the United States. Greg Allen, the lead lawyer for our firm in the pending litigation against R.R. Dawson, says the violations don’t really affect our case. While the OSHA violations are damaging for R.R. Dawson, Greg says our lawsuit is based on a serious design defect and a failure of a product to protect the workers.