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Fatal accident at GloFo under investigation

Construction foreman crushed by equipment

Saturday, June 28, 2014
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— The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating Thursday evening’s fatal accident at the massive GlobalFoundries construction site, as are state police.

“An inspector was sent to the site this morning,” OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald said Friday. “They will be looking to see if there were any violations of workplace safety standards.”

GlobalFoundries has suspended all construction activity until further notice. State police, meanwhile, have declared the incident on the fourth floor at the Technology Development Center an “industrial accident.”

The accident reported to state police at 6:39 p.m. Thursday killed Michael R. Hauf, 54, of Saranac, identified as a foreman employed by John Danforth Construction of Rochester and Clifton Park.

State police said he was part of a six-man crew moving an industrial air exchanger into a opening when the accident occurred.

“The item fell over on him,” said state police spokesman Trooper Mark Cepiel.

The state police investigation will likely wrap up once an autopsy being conducted Friday is reviewed, but the OSHA investigation, because there is a fatality involved, may take a month or more, Fitzgerald said.

“There will be on-site inspections involved, interviews involved,” he said.

The investigation is being handled by OSHA’s Albany office.

The death is the first construction fatality in the five years since GlobalFoundries began what has been continuous construction at its Fab 8 campus in Malta.

About 3,200 construction workers are currently on the site.

OSHA statistics show construction to be among the most dangerous of occupations, with hundreds of deaths occurring every year at sites across the United States.

In 2012, the last year for which OSHA statistics are available, 806 people died in construction accidents. Being struck by an object is the second most common cause of death, after falls.

Construction workers have been laboring around the clock to complete the TDC, finish installing manufacturing tools at the Fab 8 factory and expand various industrial utilities at the $10 billion complex.

GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said Danforth, one of the state’s largest mechanical contractors, is working on multiple construction projects at Fab 8.

Danforth on Friday issued a statement expressing condolences and promising to cooperate in any investigations.

“We have been and will continue to work in coordination with the authorities investigating the underlying circumstances of this sad and unfortunate incident,” the company said.

The TDC adjoins the operating Fab 8 computer chip factory. The $2.3 billion, 565,000-square-foot center is designed for both manufacturing research and development and for handling production overruns from the fabrication plant.

With 90,000 square feet of cleanroom space, construction is due for completion by the end of this year.

Massive pieces of air exchange equipment are a vital part of computer chip factories because the air in the manufacturing cleanrooms has to be kept so clean.

GlobalFoundries said there have been more than 11.2 million man-hours of construction work to date on the campus since ground was broken in the summer of 2009.

“The safety of all people on our site is our No. 1 priority,” Bullard said in a statement. “GlobalFoundries has suspended all construction activity on the campus.”

How long the shutdown will last isn’t yet clear.

“We offer our sincerest sympathy and condolences to the individual’s family, friends, and co-workers,” Bullard added.

Employee assistance services were made available Friday for any employees affected by the incident.

Production activity at the Fab 8 factory was not affected.

 
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