ATLANTA-After three deaths in four months, locally based Southern Co. has fired Mississippi-based WG Yates Construction Co. from a multi-million-dollar, two power-plant project in suburban Savannah, GA and is finishing the job itself, the company confirms.

A worker fell from a 70-ft-high scaffold last week at the construction site near Savannah Electric’s Plant McIntosh in Effingham County. Another worker was also killed in a February fall. A third worker died from injuries suffered in a March accident involving the operation of heavy machinery at the site.

Yates has been building the project for a year. The company has previously completed jobs for Southern Co. in Florida and Alabama. Southern, one of the country’s largest utility conglomerates, owns locally based Georgia Power and Savannah Electric Co.

The plants under construction would provide power from Southern Power Co., an affiliate of Southern Co., to Georgia Power and Savannah Electric. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing the entire venture after receiving allegations that Southern helped its affiliate win the competitive bid in 2001.

The fatality episodes come as construction industry leaders step up plans to establish more stringent safety guidelines at job sites. In Atlanta, for example, the Georgia division of Sweden-based Skanska AB is investing $200,000 in a program to educate subcontractors and company employees on how to eliminate injuries at its work sites across the country.

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