An I-4 construction worker was hit by a 7,000-pound pipe last Friday in the latest mishap at the Central Florida highway construction project. The highway, currently under reconstruction in Orlando, Florida, is a $2.3 billion project.
According to the report by the Orlando Fire Department, it was around 1:40 PM when the incident occurred on the site, located between North Hughey Avenue and West Robinson Street. Upon being hit by the 60-foot long pipe, the worker suffered a leg injury.
The OFD reported that the victim was taken to the ER at Orlando Regional Medical Center. According to witness statements, the worker was “struck by a pipe during regular construction activities.”
“He was immediately transported to a local hospital for treatment,” said the statement, and “ a thorough investigation” is being conducted.
The 21-mile project is a joint public-private venture of SGL Constructors and I-4 Mobility Partners. This project was to be completed by May of this year. However, FDOT has pushed back the construction by 260 days. Now the project will end, assuming there are no hindrances, in 2021.
13 bridges are being widened, 74 are being reconstructed, and 53 are being added. With six general, two toll, and four variable-rate lanes being added to the highway as well, this project is a huge undertaking for the state.
Steve Olson, a representative from the Florida Department of Transportation, stated that his agency knew about the incident and is in contact with the injured worker. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) did not immediately respond on whether they would investigate the matter.
The OSHA has been investigating I-4 subcontractor deaths and injuries on the project since it started in 2015. There have been four deaths over four years. In August, OSHA representatives and SGI Constructors settled a case regarding the death of James H. Mills. Mills, 59, came from Bartow, Florida and was killed on the job.
Similar to this case, a large steel pipe fell on Mills while he was working on Wymore Road near the Winter Park. Witnesses state that he was on top of a flatbed trailer, helping coworkers use a forklift to load the 20-foot long pipe. The OSHA report claims that Mills lost his standing and fell, causing the pipe to roll off the trailer and onto him.
Mills’ death was settled for $13,260, including an $1,895 fine for a failure to keep proper records of the case. After his death, the entire project was paused for a week. During this time, a thorough review of safety protocols was conducted.
However, upon resuming the project, three workers were injured on-site just a few weeks later. While the injuries sustained were minor, the workers had fallen 15 feet onto the street below them.
Getting injured on the job like this means victims can sue their employer for workers’ compensation. The settlement in Mills’ case was based on this. Construction site jobs are some of the most dangerous ones, and workers’ compensation cases are on the rise in both Florida and California.
If you or anyone you know is eligible for workers compensation, you should hire a lawyer. Contact us today to take the first step towards the best possible legal outcome for you.