WXYZ - As family and friends of Kent Morton wait for word along the Detroit River following Wednesday's fall from the Ambassador Bridge, Action News is learning more details about the paint company Morton worked for and its record.
MIOSHA has already launched an investigation, and records show the paint company does not have a perfect record.
Morton worked for Seaway Painting, L.L.C., an industrial painting company in Livonia.
Documents obtained by Action News show the company has been cited several times, racking up eight serious violations and 22 more citations considered ‘other than serious’ over the last five years.
State officials say inspectors visited Seaway unannounced five times since 2007.
According to MIOSHA, the serious violations include workers not wearing full protection on aerial lifts on a streetlight project in Berkley as well as on a highway project in Grand Rapids; workers not wearing hard hats on a bridge project in Wyoming, Michigan; three citations while working at a power plant in Monroe for violations while working in confined spaces; and two citations for not taking enough precautions for protection from fire and lead while working on I-96.
Seaway has so far declined to speak with Action News. A Seaway representative at the bridge site Thursday would not comment. A phone message and email have not been returned as well.
Bret Morton, Kent Morton’s brother, once worked for Seaway, even conducting paint work on the bridge just like his brother.
"The company has real good safety," said Bret Morton. "They’re very strong on that. That’s number one.”
Seaway was fined about $5000 dollars for the eight serious violations.
The 22 other citations include a host of minor problems ranging from first aid supplies, to a bad extension cord, to paperwork issues, according to a MIOSHA representative.
According to MIOSHA, one of its inspectors has already started interviewing Seaway as well as witnesses in the wake of yesterday’s accident.
So far, MIOSHA says everyone has been cooperative. Besides conducting interviews, MIOSHA will be looking at the safety mechanisms in place.
While there are no state rules on the number of workers who must be together, there are regulations in place for protection from falls. Depending on the situation, there must be harnesses, guard rails around platforms, and additional lifelines if scaffolding is involved.
Because it is still unclear what exactly happened, we do not know what kind of safety requirements needed to be in place during Wednesday's job.
Action News has learned Seaway’s license with the state has expired. However, according to state officials, the state does not require a license to do paint work on industrial structures like a bridge. Painting licenses are only required in Michigan for residential paint work.
MIOSHA’s investigation into Wednesday’s fall will take about a month. Citations, if any, will be made public.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
More Detroit Headlines
Who would stay and who would go if the proposed sports and entertainment district gets the final green light?
Within a few years, you could be watching hockey games at a new arena located north of I-75 and south of Temple, between Woodward on the east and Cass on the west.
A vote passed unanimously to move forward with plans for an Entertainment District that would include a new Red Wings arena in the city of Detroit.