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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2005

Contractor Fru-Con fined in N.D. worker death

BISMARCK, N.D. - Fru-Con Construction Corp., the firm building the I-280 bridge over the Maumee River, faces a $49,500 fine from federal officials for alleged safety violations on a North Dakota bridge project where a worker died last fall in an accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration yesterday cited the Ballwin, Mo.-based contractor for nine "serious" violations, including failure to follow procedures and plans for re-bar installation and inadequate support for a re-bar column for construction of a concrete bridge pier.

One worker died and three others were hurt when a 70-foot column of reinforcing steel, known as re-bar, collapsed and fell into Lake Sakakawea, part of the Missouri River near New Town, N.D.

OSHA also cited J.D. Steel Co., of Phoenix, the steel contractor for the Four Bears Bridge project, for four alleged violations and proposed a $25,200 fine against that company.

In Toledo, a crane collapse on the Fru-Con bridge project killed four workers and injured four others on Feb. 16, 2004.

Fru-Con is appealing a $280,000 fine OSHA proposed last summer for violations associated with that accident and a $70,000 penalty the safety agency announced on April 7 for an Oct. 23 crane incident in which no one was hurt.

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