Fatal prestressed pile incident draws $59K OSHA penalty

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor; CP staff

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Miami heavy/civil contractor de Moya Group Inc. for four serious violations tied to a December 2022 accident on an Interstate 95 site, where a 90-ft., 18-in. square prestressed concrete pile—hoisted by a crane encountering unstable soil—struck an aerial lift boom. The impact sent two carpenters on a 35-ft. fall, one suffering fatal injuries, the other serious leg trauma. 

OSHA investigators determined that de Moya Group could have prevented the tragedy by following federal workplace safety standards on the Florida Department of Transportation project—a bridge expansion along I-95 southbound lanes in Fort Lauderdale. They found that the contractor failed to ensure the ground was firm and the crane had adequate support; used a crane with a modified swing control, exposing employees to the hazard of being struck by the crane or load; and, did not complete monthly crane inspections as required. An other-than-serious citation was issued for using a crane with a broken load indicator and not making certain that modified controls did not affect the crane’s safe operation. The agency proposes $58,942 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute. 

“A worker lost his life and a co-worker suffered life-altering injuries because de Moya Group failed to follow industry-recognized and federally required safety measures,” contends OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale. “Employers should use this incident as a reminder to review their workplace safety practices and give their workers every opportunity to return to their families at the end of each workday safely.”