BOSTON, Mass. — Federal safety officials arrived at a Boston steel fabrication plant Tuesday, Dec. 10, to launch an investigation of an employee who was crushed to death Monday night by a falling steel beam.
Boston Bridge & Steel Inc., which produces structural steel for buildings, bridges, and other large-scale industrial purposes, said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of 46-year-old Marco Antonio Huezo Mancea, who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador.
Mr. Mancea was in the country on a work visa to support his wife, son and two daughters, all of whom reside in El Salvador.
Investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it is too early to tell what caused the massive six-ton steel beam to fall on top of Mr. Mancea, but acknowledged that they don’t believe foul play was a factor in the incident.
A spokesman for the Boston Fire Department told Paint Square News that Mr. Mancea was declared dead at the scene. The fire department worked for five hours Monday night to remove the body from underneath the steel beam.
“It’s very time-consuming to safely move [the steel] with as much dignity as we can for the victim,” the spokesman told Paint Square.
“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends of the deceased,” Susan Burm, president of Boston Bridge & Steel, told the Boston Globe. “This type of accident is devastating, emotionally overwhelming, and represents a feeling of personal loss that is shared throughout all of Boston Bridge & Steel.”
The company told the Globe that it is “fully cooperating with local authorities as they investigate the circumstances that led to this tragic accident.”
The accident is also being investigated by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in addition to Boston law enforcement and OSHA.
OSHA officials told the Globe that they have launched another, unrelated investigation into the Dec. 5 death of a 37-year-old construction worker who died at after being injured by a scissor lift at a work site in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. The man was injured by a scissor lift at a site at Hawley and Summer streets and later died of his injuries, Boston police said.
Despite these incidents, nationwide the number of workplace fatalities has been declining. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace fatalities fell from 4,693 in 2011 to 4,383 in 2012.
Last year, there were 4,383 fatal work injuries in the United States, down from 4,693 in 2011, according to a preliminary tally by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Of those fatalities, 708 were Latino workers who died on the job, and 64 percent of those were were foreign-born.