I-90 Construction Site Fatality May be Another Example of Safety Violations

Construction men planning out details

A recent construction site fatality is currently being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In April 2016, an Illinois construction worker was killed at a construction site on I-90 in Des Plaines when a 45-ton beam collapsed and fell. In addition to this fatality, several other workers were injured and taken to local area hospitals.

According to officials, construction workers were trying to remove a large support beam under the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway in the early hours of the morning.  They were working in lifts to reach the underside of the overpass when part of a 180-foot long, 45-ton steel beam collapsed and fell on the workers. The beam that fell supported an old section of I-90 which was being rebuilt as part of a large reconstruction project to widen the roadway from six to eight lanes between Elgin and Chicago. Initial reports state that the beam collapsed when a chain or strap supporting it broke. OSHA investigators are checking into the type of supports that were used to make sure they could safely support such a large, heavy beam. According to OSHA, this type of accident is preventable when proper safety equipment is used.

OSHA reports show that the general contractor, Judlau, is based in New York. The subcontractor, Omega Demolition in Elgin, was responsible for removing the beam. Omega Demolition employed the worker who was killed and the three others who were injured. Of the four support beams beneath the old westbound lanes over Touhy Avenue, two beams had already been removed, possibly compromising the stability of the overpass. OSHA states that proper safety procedures were essential to protect construction workers from injury.

OSHA reports show that Judlau has been issued 13 safety citations in the past 10 years and has paid over $35,000 in fines. Omega Demolition has been issued nine safety citations since 2006 and has paid over $6,500 in fines. According to Martin Bochanis, an Illinois construction accident lawyer, “OSHA safety regulations protect workers from serious injuries and fatalities. It’s essential that employers comply with these regulations.”