Deadly Ballston construction accident being probed
BALLSTON Federal and state authorities are investigating the construction accident Saturday at a National Grid staging area that killed a Massachusetts man.
Gary T. Feeney, 24, of Dorchester, Mass., was crushed when a 1,700-pound steel pipe being delivered for construction of a new natural gas transmission line fell on him at 10:42 a.m. Saturday, state police said.
Feeney worked for Feeney Brothers Excavation Corp. of Dorchester, a subcontractor working for National Grid. The company specializes in installing underground utilities, according to its web site.
The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, along with state police and the Public Service Commission, are probing the incident.
An OSHA investigator was at the scene Sunday, and the agency will seek to determine whether any federal workplace safety regulations were violated, said OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald. He said the investigation could take several months.
The accident occurred on Route 67 near the Malta town line, in an area where pipe is being stored for the upcoming construction of a new four-mile gas line to serve the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 computer chip plant and future tenants of the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
Feeney was struck by a 12-inch by 40-foot pipe as it was being unloaded from a truck, state police said. Community Emergency Corps personnel took him to Saratoga Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:20 a.m.
State police said their initial investigation showed Feeney was assisting in unloading lengths of pipe from a flatbed tractor-trailer, and holding a guide rope while the pipe was lifted by an excavator. The pipe is believed to have shifted, causing slack on a support cable and dislodging one of the hooks holding it, police said. That caused the pipe to drop about eight feet, pinning Feeney to the ground. Other workers removed the pipe before state police arrived.
National Grid is conducting its own internal review into the death, as well as assisting the state and federal probes.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the contractor’s family and we extend our deepest condolences to them,” said National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella.
“National Grid is reviewing the incident and continuing to cooperate with state and local investigations,” he said in a prepared statement.
Stella said work is temporarily halted at the staging area, but the accident isn’t expected to impact the construction schedule, which calls for the new gas line to be finished this summer.