Work has stopped on part of a $300-million powerplant project near Pittsburgh after a second worker in less than a year died after falling into a 400-ft-tall exhaust stack that was being built.
Ronald Bush, 46, was helping to install a deck on a 400-foot-high landing near the top of the concrete stack when he fell to a second landing 100 feet below. It isn't clear yet whether Bush was wearing a harness or tied off when the accident occurred on Aug. 27, says Frank Librich, assistant area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The stack is part of a new 540-Mw natural gas-fired powerplant in Springdale, Pa., that will be completed next year for Allegheny Energy Supply, Pittsburgh. Bush is the second employee of chimney subcontractor Hamon Custodis Inc., Somerville, N.J., to die in a fall.
On Nov. 17, Chris Beabout, a 36-year-old carpenter from Washington, Pa., died after stepping through an opening used to hoist materials up to the work surface. He fell 290 feet from a platform inside the chimney. OSHA proposed a fine of $7,200 against the contractor for failing to provide adequate fall protection and for problems with a hoist used to transport workers.
Hamon Custodis Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Lagarenne says he was stunned to learn of the second accident. The company is a "small, tight-knit group," and Bush was a supervisor and longtime employee. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," says Lagarenne. "Our second thoughts are re-examining ourselves."