Federal officials issue safety violations, propose fines after Alabama construction deaths

Associated Press

Federal labor officials on Tuesday announced penalties they're looking to impose against a construction company after two employees working on a Montgomery freeway overpass fell about 90 feet to their deaths.

Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor, said in a statement that R.R. Dawson Bridge Co. in Bessemer didn't provide workers near an I-85 interchange outer loop with adequate protection from falling.

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The offense is a willful violation, meaning the company intentionally, knowingly or voluntarily disregarded federal labor laws or were indifferent to employee safety and health, officials said.

The construction company is also accused of exposing workers to hazards and failing to inspect employee fall protection systems before use. Labor officials also issued three serious violations to the bridge company and proposed that the company pay $54,500 in fines.

"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," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile.

A message left with R.R. Dawson Bridge Co. was not returned Tuesday.

The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply, contest the findings or request a conference with the OSHA area director.