Figg Bridge Builders, the company that built the new South Norfolk Jordan Bridge, has been fined $28,000 by The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry following an investigation into a construction accident in June that delayed the bridge’s opening by more than three months.
The company was cited with four violations, each carrying a $7000 fine. The violations include the Figg not getting a manufacturer's written consent before it modified a girder that was used during construction, not doing daily, weekly and monthly inspections of the girder, not providing adequate training for the equipment, and not having certain safety procedures in place for its maintenance and repair. On June 21, the girder that was modified failed, sending a 90-ton piece of concrete crashing to the ground.
Jay Withrow, director of the legal support division for the Department of Labor and Industry, told the Virginia Pilot the girder was used to support pieces of the bridge as it was being built across the Elizabeth River. It was modified in part because it was intended for a straight bridge, but the builder needed it to accommodate the curves in the new Jordan Bridge. Winthrow said his department has a list of six people who were working on the girder when it partially collapsed, some suffering minor injuries.
The Virginia Injury Lawyer Perspective:
A project manager for Figg Bridge Builders released this statement: "The incident that occurred during construction was a construction equipment property damage issue that had nothing to do with the final bridge. The proposed citation is not related to the structural integrity of the completed project in any way and is not the reason the erection truss required replacing."
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured when this accident occurred. This incident affirms why construction companies should never take shortcuts when trying to get a job done. Safety of workers should always be the number one priority. Shortcuts to safety may have caused the death of a longshoreman at Norfolk International Terminals, a story we reported on in a prior posting. Exposure to dangerous equipment and chemicals have also been responsible for too many worker injuries and deaths.
South Norfolk Jordan Bridge