Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:08 am
BILL MCKELWAY/TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
A construction worker fell 65 feet to his death yesterday morning at a hotel being built on the 115-acre West Broad Village development in Short Pump.Advertisement
Mathew Paul Hawf, 25, died instantly and, according to police, is believed to have lost his balance before falling onto a concrete slab. The incident happened about 7:45 a.m.
Hawf's death has tentatively been ruled an accident and is being investigated by the state Department of Labor and Industry. Hawf was living in the Oxford, N.C., area but is from Liverpool, Ill., according to a spokesman for the company overseeing construction of the building.
Jamie Tollenaere, a vice president with the Newport News office of Clancy & Theys Construction Co., said yesterday that Hawf was wearing a safety harness. He declined to say whether the harness was attached to anything.
Tollenaere said Hawf was helping to guide sections of pre-cast concrete floor planks onto the upper floor of the hotel building, which now consists of four floors above ground level. It is made up of a structural steel skeleton and the flooring.
Each section of flooring appeared to be about 8 feet by 20 feet.
Hawf was employed by Tri-State Erectors Inc., an Oxford, N.C., company that has been cited in the past five years for several "fall prevention" safety violations, according to a Web site maintained by the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration.
Thomas J. Cortright Jr., the company's president, declined yesterday to discuss the citations, the details of Hawf's death or what preceded it.
The OSHA records show that the firm has been assessed fines totaling $2,975 since 2003 stemming from four fall-prevention safety violations. The most recent violations occurred in November 2007 at a construction site in Sandston.
There is no record of violations at the Short Pump site.
None of the violations involved fatalities, according to the Web site, and each of them was uncovered during planned inspections.
Tri-State also was cited in November last year for a ladder violation.
The firm has been assessed $1,350 more in fines stemming from safety violations unrelated to fall protection, according to the OSHA Web site.
A spokesman for the state Labor Department, which enforces federal and state safety laws, said she was unable to discuss specifics of the violations or when the hotel site was last inspected.
The OSHA Web site refers only to violation categories and cites regulatory code sections but not details of a specific violation.
Clancy & Theys said the construction site would remain closed today .
The hotel under construction is part of the aloft chain of hotels. It sits roughly in the middle of the housing, retail and business complex that will be completed sometime next year