MIAMI – One worker died and a second needed a month’s hospitalization for a serious leg fracture after falling 35 feet when a suspended concrete pile struck the aerial lift in which they worked in December 2022. U.S. Department of Labor investigators determined their employer, The de Moya Group Inc. of Miami could have prevented the tragedy by following federal workplace safety standards.

Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned that a 90-foot long, 18- by 18-inch concrete pile weighing 35,000 pounds broke free of its restraints when the supporting crane shifted in unstable soil and then struck the lift’s boom, causing the two carpenters to fall onto the roadway below. A 46-year-old worker suffered fatal injuries while his 52-year-old co-worker sustained serious leg injuries.

The incident occurred as the employees worked to expand a bridge along the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 between Sunrise and Broward in Fort Lauderdale as part of a major Florida Department of Transportation infrastructure project.

OSHA issued citations for four serious violations to The de Moya Group, a highway and bridge construction company specializing in complex major infrastructure projects in Florida, for exposing employees to struck-by hazards by not complying with federal safety standards as follows:

Failing to ensure the ground was firm and that the crane had adequate support.
Using a crane with a modified swing control exposing employees to the hazard of being struck by the crane or load.
Not completing monthly crane inspections as required.
“This tragedy never should have happened. A worker lost his life and a co-worker suffered life-altering injuries because The de Moya Group failed to follow industry-recognized and federally required safety measures,” said OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Employers should use this tragic incident as a reminder to review their workplace safety practices and give their workers every opportunity to return to their families at the end of each workday safely.”

In addition, OSHA issued the company an other-than-serious citation for using a crane with a broken load indicator and for not making certain that modified crane operating controls did not affect its safe operation. The agency proposed $58,942 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute.

Founded in 1986, the family owned and operated company had 30 workers at the worksite and employs about 230 workers.

The company has contested the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.

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