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Safety inspectors probe cause of deadly construction accident

Officials visited the Partners HealthCare construction site where a temporary elevator fell.aram boghosian for the boston globe/Globe Freelance

SOMERVILLE — About a dozen officials of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration swarmed a broken construction elevator Friday afternoon, trying to determine what caused it to fall three stories the day before, killing one man and injuring another.

On Thursday afternoon, two men standing atop a hoist — a temporary elevator attached to the outside of a construction site — fell to the ground when the hoist detached from the building. One of the workers, identified by the Middlesex district attorney’s office as 40-year-old Ronald Morse, was fatally injured.

The other man remained in serious condition at Massachusetts General Hospital Friday afternoon. Officials have not released the name of that worker.


“I haven’t seen anything like this since I’ve been here,” said city spokeswoman Denise Taylor, who has worked in Somerville for four years.

Suffolk Construction is building administrative offices for Partners HealthCare in Assembly Square.

Construction was halted at the site, where only a few workers remained by 3 p.m. Friday. They clustered around the red hoistfrom which the two men fell. It sat lopsided on the ground.

OSHA officials at the site declined to comment.

The federal job-safety agency must complete its onsite investigation before construction can resume, said Suffolk spokeswoman Kim Steimle Vaughan. She said that could happen as early as Monday afternoon.

OSHA declined to speculate about what may have caused the crash, but confirmed that it had launched an inspection.

“We’re going to take this inspection very seriously,” OSHA spokesman Andre J. Bowser said.

Online OSHA records show that the safety agency has conducted 37 inspections of Suffolk Construction projects in Massachusetts since 2010, finding nine violations. There had been no safety concerns at the Assembly Row site before Thursday, Vaughan said.

“We’ve had no OSHA violations to date on the project,” Vaughan said. “All safety protocol, at this point, to our knowledge, was followed.”


The site is one of Suffolk’s larger projects, according to Vaughan. She said that at any given time, 150 to 200 people are working there,depending on what type of construction is being performed.

The Partners HealthCare project broke ground in December 2014.

Monica Disare can be reached at monica.disare@globe.com.