An owner and contractor
have parted ways after three fatalities on a powerplant project.
Southern Co. has dissolved its contract with W.G. Yates and
Sons Construction to build a powerplant in Rincon, Ga., after
a worker died in a fall at the site May 5. Two other workers
died in unrelated mishaps earlier in the year.
Kenny Bush, legal counsel for Philadelphia,
Miss.-based Yates, says that his group had reached a mutual
agreement with Southern. This is something we saw that
needed to be done, he says.
Southern will take over management
of the project and expects to bring the half-completed plant
on line by the original June 2005 target date, says Ed Day,
senior vice president for engineering and construction. The
change was intended to restore the confidence of the
public in safety at the site, he says.
The McIntosh gas combined-cycle
plant will supply electricity to Georgia Power Co. and Savannah
Electric. Southern Co. on March 7 decided to sell the plant
to Georgia Power after competitor Calpine Corp. asked the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to nullify a contract
between Georgia Power and Savannah Electric for the purchase
of the plant's power from Southern Power, Southerns
merchant power producer. Calpine questioned whether Southern
Power had an unfair advantage in the bidding for the contract
because it is part of Southern Co. (ENR 4/26 p. 16).
A spokesman for Southern says Georgia
Power cannot wait for FERC to make a decision. The level
of uncertainty and risk with the contract is too great,
Southern already has managed similar
projects elsewhere in the region and plans to hire using a
labor broker. Many of Yates 600 to 700 employees are
likely to be retained, says Day.
Yates had started work in early
2003. Neither party would disclose the value of Yates
A spokesman for the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration says OSHA is investigating
all three accidents. The most recent involved Yates ironworker
Ryan McKenzie, 21, of Newport, Maine. He died May 5 after
he fell about 75 ft from a platform. Neither Yates or Southern
has commented on the accident. On Feb. 24, millwright Joe
Lynn Bethany, 52, of Pearl, Miss., died when he fell through
an opening in a platform meant for a piping conduit. Yates
claims he had failed to attach a safety line. On March 10,
ironworker Johnny Boyett, 48, of Bonifay, Fla., was killed
after falling out of a jammed lift.