The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it is investigating the death of a contractor foreman on the Robbinsville, N.J., project of the BAPS Hindu religious group, a 160-site site that includes what the sect said is its largest temple outside India. Work by another contractor there had been ordered shut down by state officials last year because of worker underpayments and immigration violations.
Robbinsville Police Chief Michael Polaski identified the worker who died as Antonio A. Marques, 57, who he said was a foreman for Flats and Curbs Inc., a concrete contractor in Union, N.J. He suffered fatal injuries on Sept. 23 in a mishap with a front-end loader he was operating while installing block curbing, said Polaski.
According to an online obituary, Marques had worked for the firm "for many years."
OSHA spokeswoman Lenore Fortson confimed an investigation is under way.
The contractor declined to respond to an ENR query.
The accident occurred during continuing work at the site of the BAPS temple or "mandir." Opened in 2014, the temple has been described as a 12,000-sq-ft, 42-ft-tall structure made of hand-carved imported Italian Carrara marble, Indian pink stone and limestone.
The cost of the temple was $18 million, according to nj.com. It is part of a larger BAPS complex being built at the 160-acre site, which was described by the Times of India as a $150-million project.
In a statement, BAPS said "worker safety is a priority ... and we pledge our full cooperation with law enforcement as they investigate the accident."
A BAPS spokesperson did not return an ENR query to confirm project details.
In 2021, the New Jersey Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development ordered a former BAPS site contractor, Newark-based Cunha's Construction Inc., to stop work at the site and elsewhere in the state, because of workforce violations.
The firm was ordered to pay nearly $300,000 in back wages owed and penalties related to the BAPS site.
Former workers had also filed a class action suit in U.S. district court last yesr, alleging labor violations that BAPS officials disputed.