Southern Company Releases Contractor After Third Death - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/05/04

Southern Company Releases Contractor After Third Death

The Southern Company is cutting ties with WC Yates and Sons Construction after a third worker died at Plant McIntosh, which is owned by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power. This was the third accidental death in less than three months.

Yesterday, 21-year-old Ryan Mackenzie died when he fell 80 feet working at the site. Today OSHA, the Occupational Safety Health Organization, began its investigation. Construction remains at a standstill as investigators are looking at the site under a microscope.

"We're very concerned about the safety program, the implementations, the enforcement, the culture, what's happening out here." said John Deifer with OSHA.

Safety signs cover the construction site, leading investigators to wonder why so many people have died here. That question has yet to be answered. "It's the third fatality in approximately three months, and that's very unusual to have that occur on one site," said Deifer.

We spoke with the contractor for this site, who said up until the last three months, the company hadn't had any fatalities in the last 40 years. "We're still traumatized by this," said Kenny Bush with Yates Construction. "We've gone 40 years without a work-related death and to have three on one job site has traumatized us a good bit."

They also say they've launched their own investigation and even though Southern Company has cut ties with Yates, the construction company says they support the decision.

There's still no word on when the Plant McIntosh construction site will reopen.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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