OSHA proposes $60K in penalties tied to pile cutting fatality

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration; CP staff

An investigation into how a 47-year-old carpenter was fatally injured in October 2021 at the Pinellas Gateway Express project in Clearwater, Fla., found that employer Archer Western – De Moya JV II violated safety standards by allowing workers to remain in a crane load’s danger zone. 

Along with two other crew members, the carpenter was cutting concrete piles with a gas-powered chop saw. Inspectors determined that a pile was attached to a crane with a damaged wire rope sling; during cutting, it broke free, struck the carpenter in the chest and pinned him against the trench wall. OSHA investigators cited the joint venture contractor for exposing workers to struck-by and crushed-by hazards, as it:

  • Allowed workers to remain within the danger zone while tension was applied to a crane’s load, contrary to lifting equipment manufacturer’s procedures;
  • Failed to train workers on how to recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions and train or qualify the signal person prior to directing crane operation;
  • Failed to ensure hand signals between the crane operator and signal person were agreed upon before conducting a lift; and, 
  • Used a wire rope sling with damaged capacity information tags.

The Florida Department of Transportation Pinellas Gateway Expressway is one of the largest Tampa Bay area construction projects to-date. It will net two new two-lane elevated tolled roadways providing direct connections between U.S. 19 and Interstate 275 and between the Bayside Bridge north of 49th Street North and I-275 in Pinellas County.

Related posts