Ross Island Bridge contractor fined $189K

2 bridge workers were seriously injured in February accident

Two construction workers were seriously injured when they fell 40 to 50 feet on the Ross Island Bridge and were rescued by a PF&R aerial platform truck, February 8, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) has fined a Ross Island Bridge contractor for safety violations that resulted in the serious injuries of two workers in February.

OSHA fined Abhe & Svoboda Inc. $189,000 for nine safety violations that exposed employees to death or serious injury.

On February 8, a worker fell 37 feet through a ladder opening and landed on another worker on the lower platform. The employee who fell was not protected by a fall protection system, per OSHA rules. The investigation showed that eight other workers were all exposed to the hazard.

Abhe and Svoboda Inc. was hired as part of a $30 million bridge rehab project that will remove lead paint and repaint the bridge.

The investigation also found:
* The company failed to provide proper access to work areas, forcing employees to climb up or down the scaffolding and bridge structure, and to sidestep or step over holes ranging in size from three inches to 24 inches
* The company failed to construct and install the scaffolding system according to the minimum bracing requirements, as outlined by professional specifications
* Scaffolds and related components were not set up, dismantled, and moved under the direction of a competent person
* Employees lacked rest platforms while climbing 37-foot ladders
* The company failed to ensure that employees had a work platform that was at least 18 inches wide
* Anchorages for fall protection equipment were not installed or used under the supervision of a competent person
* Scaffolds were not inspected for visible defects before each work shift by a competent person

The Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services said in a press release that during the investigation, the Abhe & Svoboda corporate safety manager “spoke dismissively of Oregon’s workplace safety rules, saying they change too much.”