TOSHA cites, fines Britton Bridge over Henley death

4:04 PM, Oct 5, 2011   |    comments
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Tennessee's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Britton Bridge LLC. over the May death of a construction worker on the Henley Bridge project.

Solin Estrada Jiminez was struck and killed by a piece of falling debris on May 24.

An investigation by TOSHA revealed two serious violations at the construction site. 

According to their report, employees were exposed to falling objects without adequate protection and hazard areas were not defined.  The violations carry proposed fines totaling $7,150.

"The employer didn't have safety procedures in place to keep things from falling from the bridge, things like canopies or screens," said Jeff Hentschel, TOSHA spokesperson.

Additionally, the report shows that although Britton has a bilingual trainer, "Hispanic speaking employees did not fully understand all the requirements of training and hazard identification."

In their investigation summary, TOSHA states that prior to May 24, Estrada Jimenez had been verbally reprimanded for standing too close to falling debris.

Estrada Jimenez's brother said he was an illegal worker.

He used the name "Rodolfo Bustillos" to gain employment with Britton Bridge LLC.  

In a statement, Britton Bridge said "Our goal is to provide a safe workplace every day, and we work hard on training to assure that safety policies and procedures are carried out by our people. Immediately after the accident, we implemented corrective measures that are addressed in the TOSHA report, as well as additional training procedures. "

Estrada Jimenez is the second construction worker to be killed in the Henley Bridge project.

John Womac, 33, of Athens, died in January while working near a trackhoe.

In that incident, TOSHA said a lack of training and faulty equipment were to blame.  They fined Britton Bridge more than $16,000.  The company is contesting those findings.

"There are similarities, when you talk about training. That played into both incidents, but they are handled independently," Hentschel said. 

Britton Bridge received the report October 4.  They have twenty days to contest the citations and penalties.  Spokesperson John Van Mol said at this time there are no intentions to appeal the fines, though that is still being evaluated

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