What OSHA investigators found in previous I-4 Ultimate worker deaths

OSHA found 1 'serious' violation, worker's family sues for negligence

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is again investigating a death of a construction worker killed while working on the I-4 Ultimate project. 

Construction was suspended on I-4 Monday after a 59-year-old man died when he was struck in the head by a large iron pipe while working on the 21-mile project, officials said.

Monday's death is the fourth that News 6 has reported on in connection with the $2.3 billion project since it began in 2015.

The first was reported in February 2016. According to records, Marvin Franklin, 34, was killed when a dump truck ran over him. Franklin died just about a mile away where from the most recent incident occured.

According to OSHA records, the investigation into Franklin's death was closed in September 2016. Investigators determined the company, SGL Contractors and its subcontractors had one "serious" violation and fined the company $12,471.

The online report did not show what that serious violation was. However, according to a lawsuit claiming negligence filed by Franklin's family, part of the OSHA investigation ruled: 

“The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to the hazard of being struck by vehicular/equipment traffic inside a construction work zone: 

a. On or about February 24, 2016, at the job site – employees were working in close proximity to vehicular/equipment traffic inside a construction work zone, exposing them to struck by hazards. b. On or about February 24, 2016, at the job site – employees were exposed to a struck by hazard while working in close proximity to a Volvo ECR235D Excavator inside a construction work zone.” 

The second worker death connected with the I-4 Ultimate Project happened later that year, in December 2016. Officials said Curtis Popkey, 59, was killed after being hit by a piece of construction equipment near I-4 and State Road 436 in Altamonte Springs.

OSHA finished  its investigation in May of 2017 and found no violations in Popkey's death, records show.

The third death tied to the project happened in March 2018. Michael Tomlan, 56, was killed when he was hit by reinforced steel near the Amway Center, FDOT officials said.

The OSHA investigation wrapped up in August 2018 with no violations or fines. 

SGL Constructors released a new statement  a day after the most recent incident. 
 
"Work will not resume on the project until the completion of the review and evaluation of our safety protocols. We will also conduct an inspection of our work sites to ensure that they are secure for our workers. 
 
"Providing a safe environment for our workers and the citizens of Florida is the highest priority of SGL Constructors. We are taking this incident very seriously and will take appropriate action following the investigation to ensure the utmost safety at the project."
 
A representative with the Florida Department of Transportation also weighed in after the fourth death, saying: 

"As safety is a top priority for the Florida Department of Transportation, the department will request from the concessionaire the findings and the final report related to this incident," FDOT spokesman Steve Olson said. "FDOT will also request an action plan/follow-up plan. Prior plans have resulted in safety improvements within the construction corridor."