The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reached agreement with St. Louis-based Fru-Con Construction Company resolving citations issued following an investigation into the Feb. 16, 2004 bridge collapse and fatalities at the Maumee River Crossing Project in Toledo, Ohio. The agreement also resolves citations resulting from a March 18, 2004 inspection of Fru-Con at another Toledo site where concrete work was performed.
“This agreement offers an increased level of protection at all Fru-Con projects and allows working men and women the opportunity to become real partners in workplace safety,” said Jonathan Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “These advances can be made immediately, avoiding lengthy litigation.”
Among key elements in the settlement is Fru-Con’s agreement to employ at least one independent, qualified consultant with expertise in bridge construction at any Fru-Con project in the U.S. involving bridges. The company has also agreed to implement all recommendations made by the consultant on the Maumee River Project, and report those safety improvements to OSHA.
Further, Fru-Con agreed that all worker safety complaints at the Maumee River Crossing Project will be investigated immediately and any hazardous conditions will be corrected.
The company agreed to pay $280,000 in penalties, the full amount initially proposed by OSHA following the Feb. 16 inspection and another $13,000 from the March inspection, and agreed to allow OSHA access to the worksite for inspection purposes even in the absence of any complaint.
OSHA, by law, must have probable cause sufficient to obtain a search warrant in order to inspect a worksite.
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