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OSHA investigating workers fall at Dawsonville Highway bridge
Worker 'expected to make a full recovery,' DOT says
Emergency personnel work to rescue a man who fell Thursday while working on the bridge on Dawsonville Highway. OSHA is now investigating the incident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into last week’s fall of a worker during repairs to the westbound Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53 bridge over Lake Lanier.

OSHA “opened an inspection” of the Thursday incident because the worker was hospitalized, said Michael D’Aquino, regional spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor.

He said the worker is employed with International Rigging Group LLC, a bridge painting and sandblasting company from Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The worker, whose name hasn’t been released, fell about 12 feet and was found under the bridge in netting that is normally used to stop falling debris from falling into the water, officials said.

He “is doing well … and is expected to make a full recovery,” Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mohamed Arafa said.

Crews used rope rescue rigging to place the worker in a basket for removal. He was raised from under the bridge and lowered onto the eastbound side then taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville in serious condition.

The incident caused a rush-hour traffic shutdown on the heavily traveled West Hall County bridge.

The $2.9 million DOT project involves fixing the bridge’s driving surface, as well as installation of new bridge joints, repair and replacement of internal parts and painting of the structure. It is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The main contractor on the project is Comanche Construction of Marietta.

Neither Comanche nor International Rigging Group, a subcontractor on the project, could be reached for comment.

“The worker safety side (of a project) is squarely on the contractor,” DOT District Engineer Brent Cook said. “It’s their rules and regulations on how to protect their workers.”

Businesses also must follow OSHA workplace safety requirements, and the federal agency conducts inspections without advance warning.

Also, according to the agency’s website, “when an inspector finds violations of OSHA

standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines.”