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Contractor fights $9,800 fine for 2 serious safety violations

A fine of $9,800 was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to Francis J. Palo, Inc., a Pennsylvania contractor, for two serious safety violations. A bridge collapsed in June and injured two workers. The contractor is contesting the violations and the fine.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation hired the contractor to tear down and rebuild the bridge, which is located about 100 miles north of Pittsburgh. The bridge was 103 years old. The contractor had a 51-ton excavator on the bridge when it collapsed. OSHA said that the engineering process used to determine if the integrity of the bridge was flawed. That meant that the bridge couldn't support the weight of the excavator.

The bridge is now open and all work has been completed. The two employees that were injured have recovered. Some reports say that last year's flooding was responsible for the bridge collapse.

The contractor and OSHA will negotiate in the hope of settling the case. Should that not be possible, then a trial may be necessary.

When workers are injured in construction accidents, workers' compensation will generally pay for medical expenses, lost wages, partial or total disability and if needed, death benefits. When a worker's claim for benefits is denied, an attorney can prove very helpful when filing an appeal. There is only a certain amount of time that the family has to file an appeal. An attorney can help you learn more about workers' compensation appeals and what is needed to move forward. He or she can also help you understand how important it is that you continue to do what is expected of you while in a workers' compensation claim, such as make all appointments and complete all paperwork.

Source: constructiondive.com, "PA contractor contests OSHA violations in bridge collapse injuring 2 workers," Kim Slowey, Dec. 30, 2015

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