Despite Safety Protocols, Third Worker Dies on I-4 Project in Orlando, Fla.
A third worker died while on the job at the sprawling, 21-mile-long I-4 Ultimate in Orlando. Michael Tolman, 56, an ironworker with Shelby Erectors, a project subcontractor, died March 8 after being struck.
According to the Orlando Police Dept.’s report, the accident occurred while Tolman was working near the on ramp to Interstate 4 at South Street. The 911 dispatcher noted reports that “someone has been crushed” by a piece of equipment. The report further stated that a “cage fell on [the] employee” and that Tolman was not awake but still breathing.
In response, SGL Constructors temporarily shut down work along the entirety of the 21-mile-long reconstruction project. SGL is the joint venture of Skanska, Granite Construction and Lane Construction rebuilding Orlando’s stretch of I-4.
Brook Brookshire, SGL’s project director, issued a statement on March 9, saying, “We will be reviewing the safety protocols that are in place, and we will take all appropriate action following the investigation to ensure the utmost safety.”
On March 16, SGL stated that work had resumed on the sprawling project, which is being delivered via a design-build-finance-operate-maintain contract.
The previous two fatalities, which occurred in 2016, also involved workers being struck. The first occurred in early 2016, when 34-year-old Marvin Franklin, wearing earbuds, exited a portable restroom and walked in front of a subcontractor truck that was backing up.
In December 2016, 59-year-old Curtis Popkey was killed when he ventured too close to a load being offloaded and a piece of steel fell and struck him.
Noting that its investigation was ongoing, on March 16, SGL added that “After a comprehensive review of our safety management … we have upgraded our protocols and confirmed that we have a safe work plan in place.”
SGL would not provide further details to ENR about changes to the project’s safety plan.