OSHKOSH — Workers who witnessed a fatal construction accident on an Oshkosh bridge say a crane may have collapsed because a highway girder was being lowered too quickly or because the crane changed positions.
The witness accounts are contained in an accident report released by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department. The crane collapse killed a 35-year-old construction worker from Green Bay and seriously injured another on the Butte des Morts bridge earlier this month.
Joseph Bidler was a driver for Spancrete and delivered the girder to the construction site. 33-year-old Martin Derrider was operating the crane, and was ejected from his cab and seriously injured.
A Spancrete employee told investigators he saw the 52-ton beam being dropped too quickly, saw the crane boom buckle and yelled at workers to run to safety. Another witness said the accident occurred when the crane, which was on a barge, had to be repositioned.
The witness saw the crane move slightly, then tip forward.
OSHA officials have six months to finish their own report of the incident.
“When the OSHA inspector is on the scene, what they are looking for are any imminent health and safety hazards that may be affecting employees that are working there. If OSHA does find violations, these violations can carry a monetary penalty that the company would be required to pay,” Rhonda Burke with OSHA told FOX6 News.
Bidler’s death was the contractor, Lunda Construction’s second fatality this year. The company did not return FOX6 News’ call for comment on this story Thursday.
A spokesperson for Spancrete says they want to read OSHA’s final report and finish their own internal investigation before commenting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.