Following a probe into a fatal gantry-crane accident on March 31 at the Arkansas Nuclear One station, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration is pointing a finger at several firms involved in the lift.

OSHA has cited Entergy Operations, Siemens Power Generation, Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. and Precision Surveillance Corp.—parties representing the owner or subcontractors—for 26 safety violations and total fines of $175,000, the agency revealed on Sept. 27.

OSHA says Precision Surveillance is being cited for one serious violation for failing to provide an effective communication system to alert the operator or signalman through an emergency stop signal. That violation carries a $6,300 penalty. A Precision Surveillance worker was fatally injured when a gantry crane collapsed while moving a $20-million, 550-ton generator stator out of ANO's turbine building, a non-nuclear part of the two-unit nuclear station owned by Entergy Arkansas. Eight other workers were hurt.

Entergy Operations, Bigge and Siemens are being cited and fined for serious violations, totaling $49,000, $56,700 and $63,000, respectively, for failing to comply with crane-related hazards. The companies have 15 business days to comply or contest the citations.

Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director for Little Rock, said in a recently released statement that the "tragedy could have been prevented had the employer ensured vital safeguards to protect workers from potential hazards and proper planning for a project of this magnitude."

The victim's family has filed a wrongful death suit against Bigge, Siemens, Entergy and others.

A lawsuit by Entergy against Bigge alleges that Bigge was responsible for conducting a load test of the gantry. Bigge claims it was not feasible to do so.

Entergy, in a statement to ENR, says, "The safety of our employees and community is our highest priority. We remain fully committed to understanding and addressing the causes of this event." n