Friday, January 22, 1999

Worker dies under concrete slab

Three-ton chunk falls on him at P&G building site

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — A construction worker on a Procter & Gamble Co. project here died Thursday morning after a nearly three-ton piece of concrete fell on him.

        Scott R. Forbes, 39, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, was pronounced dead at the scene. The building is under construction at Union Centre Commerce Park near the northwest corner of Beckett Road and Union Centre Boulevard.

        Mr. Forbes apparently was working alone and was found under the concrete slab by a co-worker, Butler County Cor oner Dr. Richard Burkhardt said. Mr. Forbes was cutting an opening in the building's concrete wall.

        “When he was found, that concrete thing was on top of him,” Dr. Burkhardt said. Mr. Forbes was last seen about 8:30 a.m. and fire crews were called about one hour later. It is not known when the accident occurred.

        Mr. Forbes worked for Cut-Rite, a 2-year-old wall-sawing firm subcontracted by the general contractor, Schumacher Dugan Construction Inc. Audrey Schultz, the wife of Cut-Rite co-owner Steve Schultz, said the cutters usually don't work alone. But an OSHA official said Thursday there is no regulation against it.

        Cut-Rite management was returning from a Las Vegas convention late Thursday and will inspect the site with OSHA officials today. Jim Washam, OSHA's acting area director in Cincinnati, said the agency still is investigating and looking into Cut-Rite's safety record.

        “This is their first accident, period,” Mrs. Schultz said, adding Mr. Forbes was very personable and good friends with her husband.

        Dr. Burkhardt said Mr. Forbes appeared to have been cutting into the concrete wall when the piece he was cutting out fell. The slab weighed between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds, more than most cars, Dr. Burkhardt said.

        He said the slab lay on part of Mr. Forbes' chest, causing him to suffocate. He died of traumatic asphyxiation. The saw Mr. Forbes was using was still against the slab.

        An autopsy will be performed today.

        Union Township fire crews used inflatable bags to lift the slab, said Union Township Assistant Fire Chief Tony Goller.

        The 300,000-square-foot building — about the size of three Wal-Mart stores — is expected to house P&G's manufacturing and supply technology group, said P&G spokesman Simon Denegri.

        P&G will lease the building, where about 150 people will work, he said. Engineering and research work will be performed there.

        “We're heartily sorry and our sympathies and prayers go out to the family of this individual,” said Bob Wassler, a Schumacher Dugan vice president.


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