An ironworker and an elevator constructor were seriously injured and one later died after an external hoist cab fell three stories at the Partners Healthcare administrative building under construction in Somerville, Mass. on June 11.
The accident occurred when a hoist cab unexpectedly pulled away during the assembly of the hoists on the building, said Boston-based contractor Suffolk Construction in a statement.
The two workers were given first aid by Somerville police on the scene and transported by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital, according to a statement issued by city officials on June 12. “We were later informed that one worker was fatally injured,” the statement noted.
The Middlesex District Attorney identified the dead man as Ronald Morse, 40, a member of International Association of Ironworkers Local 7 in Boston. The injured worker was Mark Praetsch, 30, said David Morgan, business manager for the International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 4 in Boston. He was in serious condition following the accident, but his condition has been upgraded to stable and he continues to recuperate at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Morgan said. “We’re hoping he comes through.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection on June 11 to determine if Suffolk violated any workplace safety standards, says Ted Williams, U.S. Dept. of Labor regional director for public affairs, New England. OSHA is currently gathering information related to the accident to determine if there were any violations of workplace safety standards,” he says. “It’s too early to estimate a completion date for OSHA’s inspection, but it will likely be several weeks.”
OSHA has inspected Suffolk jobsites in Massachusetts 37 times in the past five years, issuing nine violations, but none so far at the Partners Healthcare site. The project is part of a planned $1.2-billion mixed-use redevelopment in Somerville headed by Federal Realty Investment Trust.
“We take safety very seriously and it is our understanding that all safety protocol was followed,” Suffolk said in its statement. “We are working closely with OSHA and are investigating the cause of this incident. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the two workers who were involved in today’s accident.”
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