ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Two area construction workers are dead after working in the heat.
“We’re not sure exactly what the cause of death was,” said Jeff Aboussie, secretary treasurer with the St. Louis Building Construction Trades Council. “However, we are working in near 100-plus degree temperatures, and when you’re working on structural steel or in buildings that magnify the sun, that just intensifies the heat.”
The dead are identified as a 55-year-old iron worker who died on a job site at Monsanto in Chesterfield, and a 49-year-old sheet metal worker who died after working near the BJC campus on Wednesday.
Monsanto reached out to KMOX to release a statement on the situation:
“We are deeply saddened by this terrible loss. We place the highest priority on the safety of our employees and contractors and we will be cooperating fully with Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials during their investigation into this incident. While OSHA’s investigation is not final, it appears this incident was not work related. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this contractor.”
Aboussie says the sheet metal worker had been working inside “an enclosed structure.”
The iron worker had been up in a bucket lift when he apparently came down to cool off.
“The man came down, was working high up in the air, came down in a man lift,” Aboussie said. “I’m sure to hydrate, get some water, take a break, and they found him an hour and a half later behind a structure.”
Aboussie says construction was halted on the Monsanto site for an investigation.
Federal investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating both deaths.
OSHA acting deputy regional administrator Brian Drake says the investigation will seek to determine if the employer violated any safety rules.
“OSHA has no laws limiting work in certain temperatures,” Drake said. “But employers must ensure workers are protected from serious injuries or death on a work site.”
Drake says employers need to watch their workers for signs of heat illness, and provide time for them to “water, shade and rest.”
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