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Another Henley Street Bridge Death Today

britton bridge llc
Jerry Britton, owner of Britton Bridge LLC -- far right

By John Disque

Today another employee has died while working on the Henley Street Bridge Project. The worker's name has not yet been released to the media.

In January I wrote an article about the first worker who died, (John Womac of Athens, TN) who was hit by a backhoe while working on the Southside of the bridge.

In the article I pointed out that Jeff Hentschel (Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development) suggested that the incident was preventable and, at the time, Britton Bridge LLC was under investigation. Just 15 days ago (May 10, 2011) the conclusion was: "A lack of training for the operator of the backhoe. Britton was hit with nearly $17,000 in fines but neither Womac's death or the negligence-fines seemed to interfere with 'business as usual.'"

Before work began on Henley Street bridge, while working on another project in Maynardville in March 2010, Britton Bridge LLC was cited for two workplace violations. That incident didn't seem to factor on Britton getting the contract for the $24.7 million dollar Henley Street Bridge Project and some of the public was questioning why.

In the latest incident the worker was standing on a barge when he was hit by a large piece of concrete as the bridge was being demolished.

The question now becomes: How many people have to die before all work stops, Britton is placed under the microscope and safer, more competent companies are considered?


Published May 24, 2011

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