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Construction company involved in deadly Clay County bridge collapse previously fined by OSHA

Clay Co Bridge2.jpg
Clay Co Bridge1.jpg
Bridge collapse near Kearney
Posted at 4:51 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 19:20:01-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The KSHB 41 I-Team has learned that the construction company involved in Wednesday's deadly Clay County bridge collapse, Lehman Construction, paid $8,619 for a 2019 OSHA violation.

The incident was categorized as "serious," according to an online OSHA search tool and confirmed through an OSHA spokesperson.

Lehman was found to be in violation of federal Specific Excavation Requirements regarding water accumulation in a trench, rule (h)(1).

Employees shall not work in excavations in which there is accumulated water, or in excavations in which water is accumulating, unless adequate precautions have been taken to protect employees against the hazards posed by water accumulation. The precautions necessary to protect employees adequately vary with each situation, but could include special support or shield systems to protect from cave-ins, water removal to control the level of accumulating water, or use of a safety harness and lifeline.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Specific Excavation Requirements. 1926.651(h)(1)

An OSHA spokesperson confirmed there were other violations cited from 2019 and 2021, which initially were deemed "serious" but later were changed through an "informal settlement", according to the online records.

The I-Team requested additional information to understand how the process played out and if the company contested those initial violations.

OSHA compliance officers are en route to the scene of Wednesday's deadly bridge collapse.

Those compliance officers will see if the company was following OSHA standards and regulations and will investigate the cause of the incident.

They will interview the employer, employees and witnesses, according to an OSHA spokesperson.

One person died and three were injured during the bridge collapse, but a Clay County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said "there were multiple contracting companies on scene at the time of the collapse."

It is unclear whether the four people killed or injured in the incident were employed by Lehman Construction, which was founded in 1997 and is based in California, Missouri.

"The Clay County Highway Department states there were no safety concerns on the project prior to today," the Clay County Sheriff's Office said in a update Wednesday afternoon. "An engineering contractor was on scene today inspecting the bridge before the deck was poured."

The sheriff's office said the investigation will be turned over to OSHA investigators.