A 50-year-old construction worker was fatally crushed by a concrete slab while he was working under the front porch of a single-family home in Medford on Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.
An initial investigation indicates the worker, a man from Massachusetts, was working along the foundation of a house at 786 Highland Ave. when part of the foundation collapsed and struck him sometime before 2:45 p.m., according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney’s office.
The man, who was not identified, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Medford and State Police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the incident. The case has been referred to the medical examiner, who will determine the official cause of death, prosecutors said.
The name of construction company was not released.
The company was contracted to remove the foundation walls from under the front porch, Medford police said in a statement.
Medford Deputy Fire Chief Martin Cunniff said the victim was working in a five-foot to six-foot deep trench next to the foundation of the home when a “whole wall of concrete” collapsed.
A concrete slab about five feet by six feet and eight inches thick fell on the victim, said Cunniff. Firefighters used levers to move the slab, he said.
“He was crushed between a concrete slab and the dirt wall of the trench,” said Cunniff.
Workers had bolstered the part of the foundation under the porch where the accident occurred, so the house did not collapse when the slab fell, said Cunniff.
Firefighters and police performed CPR on the victim at the scene, Medford police said. There were two workers at the site at the time of the accident, police said.
Wednesday’s rough weather played no part in the accident, said Cunniff. Parts of Eastern Massachusetts were pocked with thunderstorms and there was a flash flood warning issued for Greater Boston in the evening, but the rain did not fall in Medford until after the accident, he said.
The death is not considered to be suspicious, according to the DA’s office.
Calls to the Medford building department, mayor’s office, and the US Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA, were not returned Wednesday night.
Medford Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke expressed condolences to the worker in a tweet Wednesday night.
“Thoughts&prayers are with his family & co workers,”Burke wrote.
Danny McDonald can be reached at email@example.com