An abrasive blaster at a bridge job near Pittsburgh, PA, fell to his death after one side of the swing scaffold he was working from broke, according to Frank Librich, assistant area director for the Pittsburgh Area Office of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
Michael L’Hereaux, 54, of Oberlin, OH, was working on the McKees Rocks Bridge on October 1 when the accident occurred, according to Dr. Edward Strimlan, chief forensic investigator for the Allegheny County (PA) Medical Examiner’s office. The accident occurred at approximately 2:15 p.m., Dr. Strimlan said, and Mr. L’Hereaux was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:22 p.m.
Mr. L’Hereaux fell approximately 125 feet to the ground, according to Mr. Librich. No one else on the site was injured. OSHA is investigating the accident and has up to six months to complete its investigation, he said. OSHA does not release details of an investigation before it is complete, he added.
Mr. L’Hereaux had been working for Odyssey Contracting Corp. (Houston, PA) on the $6.8 million rehabilitation project for the McKees Rocks Bridge, according to James B Struzzi II, communications officer for Engineering District 11 of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
According to Odyssey owner Stavros Semanderes, Mr. L’Hereaux, who had been on the job for Odyssey for a month, was not a permanent employee of the company but had approximately 30 years of experience in the painting industry.