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Worker Killed in Penn State Renovation

Thursday, June 18, 2015

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STATE COLLEGE, PA--Federal authorities are investigating the death of a construction worker who was struck by a crane on a Pennsylvania State University renovation project.

Jerod Chapman, 29, of Uniontown, PA, was reportedly working to disassemble a crane when another worker removed a pin from the equipment.

The crane then rotated and struck Chapman in the head about 6:45 p.m. Friday (June 12).

Burrowes Building
Patrick Mansell / PSU

A $37.8 million renovation project at the Burrowes Building at Penn State University was the scene of a fatal workplace accident Friday (June 12).

He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The death was ruled an accident by the Centre County Coroner, local news outlets reported Monday (June 15).

Work Halted

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and construction manager P.J. Dick are investigating the accident.

Meanwhile, work at the site—a $37.8 million renovation of its historic Burrowes Building—has been halted during the investigation, Penn State officials said.

“We anticipate a thorough investigation of the accident by P.J. Dick and an examination of their safety program,” university spokesperson Lisa Powers said in a statement. “Once the investigation is complete, the work will continue at the site.”

P.J. Dick spokesman Jake Ploeger told local media outlets,“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family of Mr. Chapman and are fully cooperating with the proper authorities in their investigation of this tragic incident."

Chapman was an employee of Maccabee Industrial Inc., a subcontractor on the project. The crane he had been working on was reportedly owned by Maxim Crane Works LP and leased by Maccabee.

OSHA crane

Authorities said Jerod Chapman had been disassembling a crane at the worksite when another worker removed a pin, causing the equipment to rotate and strike Chapman.

Maccabee Industrial, of Belle Vernon, did not respond Wednesday (June 18) to a request for comment.

Founded in 1989, the company provides fabrication, erection and construction management serves throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, according to its website.

OSHA Cases

P.J. Dick has a record of safety violations with OSHA, according to the agency’s database.

The Pittsburgh-based company was fined $2,295 in December 2014 for one serious violation involving an electrical hazard. The company informally settled for $0 and abated the violation.

Burrowes Lobby
Patrick Mansell / PSU

The Burrowes Building is undergoing renovations to its facade, systems and interior.

One other-than-serious violation was issued against the company in September 2014, but no fines were issued.

Both of those cases are indicated as closed.

Maccabee Industrial has no record of past citations with OSHA, according to the database.

Building Renovation

Renovation work on the Burrowes Building includes facade, electrical, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning upgrades. Office space and classrooms are also being reconfigured. Work began in February.

Originally built in 1938-40, the building was designed by architect Charles Z. Klauder. Burrowes has served as the headquarters of the School of Education and College of the Liberal Arts.

Currently, the building is the home to the Department of English and the School of Languages and Literatures. Those departments have temporarily been relocated on campus and downtown during the renovation.

The project is scheduled for completion later this year.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA; Renovation; Schools

Comment from john lienert, (6/18/2015, 8:36 AM)

lack of proper equipment safety meetings ??

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