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OSHA investigating workers fall at Dawsonville Highway bridge

GAINESVILLE — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into last week’s fall of a worker during repairs to the westbound Dawsonville Highway (Hwy. 53) bridge over Lake Lanier.

OSHA has “opened an inspection” of the Thursday incident, according to Michael D’Aquino, regional spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor.

He said the worker is employed with International Rigging Group LLC, a bridge painting and sandblasting company from Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The worker, whose name hasn’t been released, fell about 12 feet and was found under the bridge in safety netting, Gainesville Fire spokesman Keith Smith said in a news release.

He “is doing well … and is expected to make a full recovery,” said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mohamed Arafa.

Crews used rope rescue rigging to place the worker in a basket for removal. He was raised from under the bridge and lowered onto the eastbound side then taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville in serious condition.

The incident caused a rush-hour traffic shutdown on the heavily traveled bridge in western Hall County

The $2.9 million DOT project involves fixing the bridge’s driving surface as well as installation of new bridge joints, repair and replacement of internal parts and painting of the structure. It is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The main contractor on the project is Comanche Construction of Marietta.