Metro

OSHA investigates death in East Boston

Steel beam fell on worker, 46

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation Tuesday into the death of an employee of Boston Bridge & Steel Inc., who died Monday night at the company’s East Boston facility after a massive steel beam fell on him.

Company officials said in a statement that they were “deeply saddened” by the death of Marco Antonio Huezo Mancea, 46, an immigrant from El Salvador who had a wife, son, and two daughters in his native country.

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“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends of the deceased,” said Susan Burm, president of Boston Bridge & Steel, who declined to answer questions about the accident. “This type of accident is devastating, emotionally overwhelming, and represents a feeling of personal loss that is shared throughout all of Boston Bridge & Steel.”

She said a grief counselor offered support to employees at their Marginal Street facility.

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“The safety and security of our employees is of utmost importance to Boston Bridge, and we are fully cooperating with local authorities as they investigate the circumstances that led to this tragic accident,” Burm said.

In addition to OSHA, officials at the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said they are also investigating the death, which occurred when a 12,000-pound steel beam collapsed on Huezo Mancea shortly after 6 p.m. Monday.

It remains unclear what caused the beam to fall.

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“The available evidence thus far suggests accident rather than foul play, but an investigation will reveal all the facts,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Relatives of Huezo Mancea could not be reached Tuesday.

Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, said the steel beam that fell on Huezo Mancea was for an out-of-state bridge.

He said it took rescue personnel about five hours to recover Huezo Mancea’s body, because they had to wait for law enforcement officials to complete their investigation at the scene.

OSHA officials said they have also started investigating the unrelated death of a 37-year-old construction worker who died at a work site in Downtown Crossing Thursday afternoon.

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.

The number of workplace fatalities has been declining.

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 US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The number of workers who died on the job last year was the second lowest number of deaths since the government began tabulating workplace fatalities in 1992.

Fatal work injuries among Latino workers dropped to 708 in 2012 from 749 in 2011, a decrease of 5 percent, according to the census. Of the 708 Latino workers who died on the job, 64 percent involved foreign-born workers.

David Abel can be reached at dabel@globe.com.
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