A 64-year-old Miami resident serving as the foreman for a demolition of an old General Motors plant outside Wilmington, Delaware, died Friday after being struck in the head and body by a cable that snapped while lowering steel beams. The victim, identified as Paul Leary, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is working with state police to determine why the cable snapped and if Leary’s death could have been prevented.
Leary worked for Atlantic Coast Dismantling. The GM site where the accident occurred is owned by developers Harvey Hanna & Associates. The company issued a statement saying they were “deeply saddened to learn that a demolition construction worker at the Boxwood Road site tragically lost is life.”
Struck-by accidents are one of the four leading causes of death among construction workers, along with falls, electrocution and caught-in/between. By eliminating these so-called Fatal Four accidents, 582 workers’ lives in America would be saved, according to OSHA statistics.
Violations involving machinery or machine guarding were also among the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA during the fiscal year 2018.
“Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness,” OSHA reports. “Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.”