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Worker Dies in 53-Story Fall

Monday, March 21, 2016

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Workplace safety authorities have launched an investigation after a worker fell 800 feet to his death Thursday (March 17) at the Wilshire Grand Center construction site in downtown Los Angeles.

Wilshire Grand
Photos: Wilshire Grand Center

The Wilshire Grand Center held its "topping out" ceremony just days before the deadly fall.

The worker, identified Friday (March 18) as Joseph Sabbatino, 36, of Palmdale, was an electrician on his second day of the job, reports said.

Sabbatino, an employee of ASSI Security, reportedly fell 53 stories and landed on a car below. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital in stable condition.

‘Not Work-Related’

In a statement, Turner Construction officials said the incident “was not work-related,” and offered sympathies to the worker’s family and the nearly 1,000-person crew working to build the skyscraper, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We have confirmed with CalOSHA and LAPD that the incident which occurred at the Wilshire Grand project site today was not work-related,” Turner’s statement read. “After an initial onsite investigation, Cal OSHA has confirmed that no fall-protection violations were observed.”

Wilshire Grand

The $1 billion, 73-story hotel, office and retail project will be 1,100 feet tall—the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River—when completed in 2017.

The company also told media outlets that the victim was not supposed to be above the third floor and was “not performing any functions related to his employment or his work,” a local television station, KTLA 5, reported.

Despite these statements, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) says it has launched an investigation into the death.

Witnesses say the victim lacked a safety harness and hard hat, reports said.

About the Project

The $1 billion, 73-story hotel, office and retail project will be 1,100 feet tall—the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River—when completed in 2017.

A “topping out” ceremony was held March 8.

The building’s signature spire is scheduled to be placed in September, according to the Wilshire Grand’s Facebook page.

Work at the site was halted Thursday and Friday and counselors were on hand for workers, the officials said.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Fall protection; Fatalities; General contractors; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Hotels; North America; OSHA; Regulations

Comment from Chuck Pease, (3/21/2016, 5:49 PM)

There is something very fishy about this incident. 2nd day on job was an electrician on the project but the fall and death was not work related......... Mhhhhhhhh

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