Who’s to blame for platform overturn?

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined that an underbridge inspection platform overturning incident in Rhode Island last summer was caused by the platform being over extended. But who is to blame, the platform’s manufacturer or the owner?

The Administration’s office in Providence, Rhode Island sent a letter to contractor AECOM and platform supplier N.E. Bridge Contractors warning them both to pay more attention to inspection procedures, but also informing them that it would not be levying any fines or charges over the incident. See the original incident report on this site
The owner of N.E. Bridge Contractors - which also trades as Bridgeriggers -John Waitkus was dismayed at the ‘verdict’, due to the fact that a manufacturing error was the apparent cause of the failure on the six axle Aspen A-75 bucket type underbridge unit. According to Waitkus the entire incident was caused by the fact that manufacturer - Aspen Aerials of Duluth, Minnesota - had installed a critical interlock switch in the wrong position, allowing the boom to reach beyond its safe working limits.

He claims that the company has apologised to him for the error but is not willing to be held responsible for the OSHA ruling, leaving his company to take the blame for something that was outside of its control. He is now considering further action to remove the inference of fault from the company’s record.

We have contacted Aspen with a request for further information or to put its version of events, but have so far not received any response. We will update this item if and when we do hear back from the company.
The underbridge unit overturned during a routine bridge inspection


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