RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A contractor’s failure to follow established safety procedures led to the collapse of a section of a bridge linking North Carolina's mainland to Hatteras Island, killing one worker and injuring another, according to federal regulators.
Capt. Jeff Derringer of the Dare County Sheriff’s Office said at the time that workers were dismantling a section of the old Bonner Bridge on April 14 when that section fell approximately 110 feet (33 meters) into Oregon Inlet.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited PCL Civil Constructors with two serious violations for failing to use engineering surveys or calculations to control the bridge’s stability and avoid unplanned collapses, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Friday. OSHA also found the company overloaded bridge sections beyond their capacity and exposed workers to hazards. The agency has proposed a $23,210 fine.
According to OSHA, Jose Armando Maqueda Mejia (El Guero), 42, of Manns Harbor, was using a torch to cut crossbeams on a section of the bridge where the concrete had been left for removal. The weight of the concrete caused the structure to collapse and Mejia to fall, according to the agency.
Most of the old bridge had already been taken down when the accident occurred.