Swinging equipment blamed in death of construction worker

John Howell
Posted 11/13/14

An accident early Wednesday morning claimed the life of a 45-year-old Fall River man and father of two who was working on natural gas lines as part of the Apponaug Circulator project.

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Swinging equipment blamed in death of construction worker

Posted

An accident early Wednesday morning claimed the life of a 45-year-old Fall River man and father of two who was working on natural gas lines as part of the Apponaug Circulator project.

Deputy Police Chief Michael Babula said he learned of the accident at 2:15 a.m. Wednesday from fire personnel who responded to the initial call at about 1:45 a.m. According to the report he received, Babula said the man was still alive when the rescue arrived. He was soon after pronounced dead at Kent Hospital.

According to Babula, the man was working in a cut in the road when a piece of equipment being lowered into the trench by a backhoe hit him in the head. He said the piece of equipment was a “fusing machine” and that it swung and hit the worker.

Babula did not release the man’s name pending notification of his next of kin by law enforcement in Massachusetts.

David Graves, spokesman for National Grid, said the man was a member of a crew from AGI Construction, a Smithfield company that National Grid uses as a subcontractor. He said AGI has an excellent safety record and that National Grid would be doing its own internal investigation.

The accident occurred at Apponaug Four Corners, where crews are in the process of upgrading utilities as part of the $30 million circular project to be completed in 2017. As the work requires shutting down a number of travel lanes in the heavily traveled village, some of the work is being done overnight.

David Bouchard of the Ripe Tomato restaurant at the northwest corner of the intersection said a construction crew of 10 to 15 arrived at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday to set up lights and begin work.

“They got to work right away,” he said.

Bouchard said it was the first “major work” he has seen being done since the project started last spring. Bouchard said crews were busy when he closed up around 11 p.m. He didn’t learn of the accident until yesterday morning.

“He never made it home to his family,” Bouchard lamented.

As standard procedure, Babula said, OSHA and the Department of Transportation were notified. He said they had finished their onsite investigation as of yesterday morning.

Traffic was flowing easily through the intersection yesterday. The only indication of any work being done on the road was narrow, recently paved over cuts in the road running north and south.

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