Thursday, July 9, 2009


Man hurt in fall at tribal site

By Brian Hallenbeck Published on 7/9/2009

Mohegan - An ironworker was injured Tuesday in a fall at the construction site of the Mohegan Tribe's administration building, the second such incident there in seven weeks, prompting a federal workplace inspector to return to the site.

In the earlier incident, an ironworker was killed.

The man injured Tuesday remained hospitalized Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the Gilbane Building Co. of Providence, construction manager for the project.

Citing privacy issues, Wes Cotter, the spokesman to whom the tribe referred inquiries, said he could not release the name of the victim, who worked for Thomas F. Keefe & Sons, a Guilford contractor. The victim was injured in a fall around 7 a.m. Tuesday, Cotter said.

The Mohegan Tribal Fire Department took the victim to The William W. Backus Hospital.

According to Cotter, the incident occurred as workers were enclosing the administration building and securing the site, where construction has been halted. He said he was not aware of the exact nature of the work the victim was performing or how the incident occurred.

In the earlier incident, Richard “Dicky” Blake, 59, of Niantic, died May 19 after falling about four stories.

The fatality prompted an investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has yet to issue its findings. An inspector from the agency's Hartford office was dispatched to the site Tuesday and Wednesday to investigate the latest incident, according to Ted Fitzgerald, an OSHA spokesman.

Such inspections are conducted to determine whether violations of safety standards have occurred, Fitzgerald said.

”An extensive safety program is in place (at the construction site), with extensive training and orientation (for workers),” Cotter said. “All proper safety equipment is in place.”

When completed, the building will house the tribe's administrative offices, which are now located in a warehouse on Cow Hill Road, as well as a community center for tribal members. In February, tribal officials said the $80 million project would be suspended as part of the tribe's efforts to curb costs amid the recession. Originally, it was scheduled to be finished in December 2009.

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