The North Carolina Department of Labor recently announced that its investigation into the bridge collapse on the northern campus of Wake Tech University found that the accident stemmed from flaws in the bridge’s design. The accident, which occurred in November 2014, led to the death of a construction worker at the site.
On the day of the accident, workers with J.O. Concrete were reportedly working on pouring concrete onto the pedestrian bridge, a 250-foot-long structure, as the latest step in a long-planned campus expansion project. However, as the workers poured the concrete, the bridge suddenly collapsed, sending five people who were working on it crashing to the ground. One of the workers was killed and the other four were injured. The bridge was 40 feet tall at its highest point. Another footbridge collapsed the next day, but no one was hurt.
The Department of Labor discovered the bridges collapsed because of several notches located in the glulam girders, which were providing support. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined Stewart Engineering Inc., the structural engineering company in charge of preparing the bridge plans, should have known about the flaws in the design.
However, neither the state Department of Labor nor OSHA was able to issue citations for a variety of reasons, including a lack of applicable occupational safety and labor laws affecting the design of bridges.
When companies are found liable for collapsing structures due to faulty designs, they could be forced to pay damages to plaintiffs in personal injury or wrongful death claims. For more information about how to file an injury claim after a construction accident, contact the knowledgeable North Carolina attorneys at Lanier Law Group.