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Worker Killed by Boom Truck

Worker Is Killed on Throgs Neck Bridge

Workers gathered around a white sheet covering the body of a contract worker who was killed on the Throgs Neck Bridge Tuesday morning.  Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Workers gathered around a white sheet covering the body of a contract worker who was killed on the Throgs Neck Bridge Tuesday morning. Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

New York Times
By Sewell Chan AND Christine Hauser
August 25, 2009, 10:51 am

An electrical worker died on Tuesday morning after being struck by the boom of a truck on the Throgs Neck Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Queens, according to the city’s Fire Department.

The police said the worker, William Barnes, 48, of Port Washington, N.Y., was working for Tri-State Electric Contracting of Haverstraw, N.Y. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Tri-State was a subcontractor to E. E. Cruz, a contractor that authorities said was responsible for a July 10 fire on the bridge that caused significant damage.

Mr. Barnes was struck at 10:23 a.m. around the middle of the span, on a northbound lane, and the first emergency units arrived at the scene at 10:31 a.m., according to the Fire Department.

The authorities, based on preliminary reports, initially said that Mr. Barnes fell from the bridge itself, but officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the bridge, later said the worker died after being struck and pinned by the boom, or lift.

“The employee was outside of an aerial lift truck operating the lift controls when he was struck by the lift,” M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels said in a statement. The police said Mr. Barnes “was removed from beneath the boom of a crane after the cable snapped, pinning him against the vehicle.”

The authorities said that Mr. Barnes had a commercial driver’s license, which was required to operate the truck.

For more than an hour after the accident, the only northbound (Bronx-bound) access to the bridge was via the Cross Island Parkway ramp, and drivers were advised to use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge or the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge) as alternative routes. But by 12:10 p.m., the authorities announced that all northbound lanes were open to traffic.

The Throgs Neck Bridge was the site of a construction fire on July 10 that caused significant damage and led officials to close one of three northbound bridge lanes, and ban most trucks on the bridge, for several weeks. On Aug. 10, the lane reopened, but the northbound lanes were slightly narrowed to allow work to continue, and oversize and overweight trucks that normally cross at night with an escort remained prohibited.

Further repair and reconstruction work, including a portion of a planned deck replacement, was to last into the fall.

M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels and the Fire Department found that the fire had been caused by a spark from a contractor’s torch that ignited construction material on scaffolding below the bridge.

Tom Bach, the chief engineer at M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels, said in a statement earlier this month that an on-site independent safety monitor, paid for by the contractor, would continue to report directly to the authority until all the construction work had been completed.

The contractor, E. E. Cruz, agreed to bear responsibility for the fire and for its costs. The contract employees who were directly involved in the accident were removed from project. Mr. Bach said that all of the authority’s other bridge construction projects had been reviewed by an outside safety consultant to ensure that they were safe.

The Throgs Neck Bridge, which opened in 1961 and is run by the transportation authority, carries 110,000 to 120,000 vehicles a day, including many trucks heading to and from Long Island.

1 Worker Killed in NYC Scaffold Collapse

1 Worker Killed in NYC Scaffold Collapse
August 19, 2009
by The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A construction worker fell five stories to his death when part of a scaffold collapsed in Brooklyn, police said.

The worker had been resurfacing bricks on an apartment building’s facade in the Park Slope section when the accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police identified the victim as 42-year-old Henyrk Siebor, an employee of Nova Restoration, Inc., of Brooklyn.

Siebor was moving from one scaffold to another one occupied by two other workers when the second scaffold collapsed, Buildings Department spokeswoman Carly Sullivan said.

Siebor fell and the other two workers clung to the tilted scaffold where firefighters eventually pulled the workers through the building windows to safety.

The Fire Department one of the workers at the site was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. Two other workers refused medical attention.

Nova Restoration did not immediately respond to a call for comment left on its answering machine Tuesday evening.

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SMART Client Expanding With Military Projects

One of SMART Safety Group’s clients, Straub Construction, was featured on the front page of the San Diego Business Journal. SMART Safety Group provides Straub with objective third-party safety auditing on many of Straub’s military projects. The benefits of third-party auditing include:

  • Enhanced record-keeping
  • Greater compliance
  • A second set of eyes

Please read the article below…

August 10-16, 2009

August 10-16, 2009

Builder Expanding With Military Projects
By BRAD GRAVES – 8/10/2009
San Diego Business Journal

It’s news that seems to have come out of another decade: A construction company adds middle managers to better handle a growing volume of work.

But it’s happening today in Fallbrook at Straub Construction.

Privately held Straub has put down roots in one of the few growth markets in construction: military base work. It’s been growing its business in anticipation of increased government building programs. The firm has doubled in size over five years to 75 employees. In the same period it has doubled revenue to $120 million.

The firm recently moved from Bonsall to Fallbrook to accommodate its growth.

Before the month is over Straub and joint venture partner, Las Vegas-based Martin-Harris Construction, will submit bids to build two “packages” of barracks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Package 5 has four barracks complexes sleeping 1,800 Marines. Package 6, with three groups of buildings, will sleep 1,100.

There is $5 billion of construction scheduled on local military bases in the near future, according to the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

That $5 billion applies to San Diego County, but Straub is willing to travel to get work. It does business in Nevada and Arizona in addition to California.

The joint venture with Martin-Harris is in the early stages of a $101 million project at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. They are building three sets of four-story barracks, sleeping 1,150 Marines, plus garage. Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville of Alexandria, Va., is the architect.

The team got the deal, known in Navy building circles as Package 9, on May 1.

Closer to home, Straub has several projects in progress at Camp Pendleton, including a $50 million, multiple-building force intelligence operations complex, a $9.6 million infantry training center and an $8.5 million communications/electronics maintenance shop.

Coffee And Steel

Ask about a noteworthy recent project, however, and CEO Richard Straub will talk about a town library in Santa Barbara County.

The city of Santa Maria opened its $19 million, 60,000-square-foot library one year ago. Giving the community a centerpiece building (which includes a full-sized tree sculpture in the children’s reading area) did not come without challenges for Straub.

The library went up in the center of town, next door to city buildings that still had to function. Straub had to work in a confined space and find suitable places to stage materials.

The Straub crew was able to borrow some space from a nearby coffee shop. They returned the favor with a paving job.

Then there was the matter of the steel for the building’s skeleton. The supplier was hit with a labor dispute, so Straub had to scramble. The company parceled out the work to shops in San Diego.

Nevertheless, the library went up on time, and on budget. Larry Lavagnino, Santa Maria’s mayor, lauded Straub’s ability to anticipate obstacles and prevent delays that would have added to the price tag. Jack Buchanan, the city’s librarian, added that Rick Straub was easy to work with.

Straub sees more opportunities in government work — particularly in military construction — in the next four years.

It’s built its organization to anticipate the work. For example, the number of employees in Straub’s preconstruction department has grown 300 percent.

The company also reports seeing an influx of competitors, which is a product of the recession.

“We are seeing some very low bids from companies that don’t have any experience, or very limited experience, in military construction,” Straub said. “… The question is, can these firms perform to the expectations of the government, and are they pricing themselves out of business?”

Straub Construction
CEO: Richard Straub.
2008 revenue: $120 million.
Backlog: $180 million.
Number of employees: 75.

Company description: General contractor specializing in government and public works projects.
San Diego Business Journal, Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved.