East Valley bridge accident: Company has few violations

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by Gary Harper

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 21 at 4:01 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- The stretch of highway in the East Valley where Wednesday's bridge accident happened is a big project.

It's almost a $72-million-dollar job and is expected to be completed this coming fall. The company in charge of getting it done, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, is Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction.
   
It's a heavy hitter when it comes to highway construction. According to its website, Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction has earned numerous awards for its highway and bridge work.
   
But behind all of those awards, and following Wednesday's fatality, 3 On Your Side wanted to know if the company has a good track record for safety.
   
So, we went to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, to see what we would find.
   
We searched records for the past 10 years and found that Ralph L. Wadsworth has been cited by the agency just a few times.

The first violation dates back to 2005 when Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction was flagged for a serious violation regarding poor lighting or illumination on a construction site. They were fined only $500.
   
The company continued its good track record for another five years when in 2010, it was cited for two serious violations regarding equipment. The company were penalized $2,800.

And the third and final problem under the company's name was back in 2011 involving an accident. OSHA cited it for improper safety training and education, failing to require an employee to wear safety equipment and reportedly failing to provide protection in case a worker fell. The company was fined just over $17,000.
   
However, on Wednesday, the company's track record took a hit when an employee was killed and another badly injured. The accident happened when the workers were attempting take down some steel and wood supports and the whole thing collapsed.
   
OSHA investigators remained on the scene for most of the day trying to determine exactly what went wrong.

It could be months before investigators decide what kind of violations and penalties should be doled out to Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction.

3 On Your Side will air an update when OSHA makes a decision.
 

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