New England Ironworker Accidents Raise Safety Questions
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the collapse of steel framework on a university project site in Smithfield, R.I. that injured six ironworkers in early September.
The ironworkers were injured at Bryant University just before 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 1, said Smithfield Deputy Fire Chief James Grengan. The framework collapse at a new field house was heard across the school's 43-acre campus.
Workers were installing steel beams for a new indoor practice facility when the beams collapsed. According to the Smithfield Police Dept., a construction worker told police a crane operator pulled the steel beam too far while trying to plumb, or straighten, the leaning structure. A fire department official later said it was a boom lift.
A spokesman for A/Z Corp., North Stonington, Conn., the general contractor for the project, declines to comment. A spokeswoman for Bryant University did not respond to ENR's repeated calls.
Also under investigation is the Sept. 4 death of another ironworker in Taunton, Mass. Nicholas Dumont, 24, died after a fall at the Myles Standish Industrial Complex. "They were putting up framing about 40 feet high for a warehouse when he fell," says a spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney. "There does not appear to be any foul play."
Dumont was a subcontractor on the job for which 50 workers were on site at the time of the accident, said a spokeswoman for Boston-based Suffolk Construction, the project contractor. Work at the site has been paused as Suffolk works with OSHA and the local fire and police departments to probe the cause of the accident.