Wisconsin Highway Contractor Cited in Struck-by Fatality

OSHA has cited Lunda Construction Company for one willful and five serious safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

After an 18-year-old carpenter's apprentice died Sept. 21, 2015, when he was struck by a forklift while working on the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge resurfacing project, OSHA has cited Lunda Construction Company and proposed $105,000 in penalties against it. The employee had started working for Lunda Construction only three months before, and he was mixing concrete when he was struck, according to OSHA.

The bridge spans St. Louis Bay between Superior and Duluth, Minn. Since 2012, three workers have died while working on Lunda highway construction projects, OSHA reported March 15, adding that its investigation found the construction company let an employee operate the forklift even though he had a physical restriction specifying no use of his right hand and lacked adequate training.

OSHA has cited Lunda for one willful and five serious safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"This young man was fresh out of high school with a lifetime ahead of him," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "His family and friends are left with pain and grief because this man's employer failed to keep him and his co-workers safe. Lunda has a dismal safety record. OSHA will continue to monitor and inspect Lunda sites until the company does the right thing and makes worker safety a priority on its job sites."

According to OSHA, its investigators found these violations:

  • Workers had no specific training on a rough-terrain forklift.
  • Workers lacked training to recognize hazards and unsafe conditions while operating vehicles.
  • Vehicles were not inspected before being placed in service.
  • Workers drove vehicles at unsafe speeds and too close to employees standing in front of fixed objects.
  • The company failed to include plans for prompt medical attention in case of serious injury before starting the project.

OSHA reported that the previous two Lunda worker fatalities occurred in 2012 on U.S. Route 41 construction sites managed by the company.

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