Worker fatally injured at my workplace

Mr. Rosaulino Montano, 46, an employee of  Engineered Construction Products of Smithsburg, MD fell seven stories to his death on Tuesday, Nov 18 on the campus of my workplace, the George Washington University (GWU).  Mr. Montano was installing windows at a $75 million residence hall under construction at F St and 22nd St. on the Foggy Bottom campus.  The 10-story building will house 400 students and is schedule to open in Fall 2009. 

Mr. Montano’s death is terrible, and when the official investigations are completed I’m sure we’ll learn that his death should have been prevented.  I’m particularly troubled that his death happened at my own workplace, and I never heard a peep about it.  When I–somebody who makes a serious effort to recognize the daily toll of workplace deaths–don’t even know about one in my own backyard, is it any wonder that so few people in the U.S. know that about 15 workers lose their lives everyday from fatal workplace injuries? 

I was walking out the door this morning heading to GWU, when my husband said,

“did you hear about the worker who was killed at GWU?  It was at one of its construction sites.” 

What??   

A worker killed at my place of employment and I didn’t know about it??   Worse yet, nobody else I work with here at GWU—in an academic department which understands workplace safety and health issues–had heard about it either.  Again, is it any wonder that so few people in the U.S. know that about 15 workers lose their lives everyday from fatal workplace injuries?  

For a Weekly Toll of workers who’ve died on the job, go to http://weeklytoll.blogspot.com/

P.S.  The general contractor at this GWU construction site, Clark Construction, signed a partnership agreement with OSHA’s in May 2007.  Its purpose was “to heighten safety and health awareness” at two major contstructon projects: the Washington National’s baseball team stadium, and an office project at 51 Louisiana Ave. N.W. near the U.S. Capitol.   Hmm…. I didn’t realize that these partnerhip agreements covered only particular sites controlled by an employer.  What does differently at these sites that shouldn’t also be done for workers at its other sites?

Comments

  1. #1 Dave Smith
    November 20, 2008

    Often the deaths on the job occur one at a time, and are traumatic for the family, co-workers and the employer, but it merits only a brief mention in a local paper, or a quick blurb on the evening news. This is I think part of the reason why occupational safety and health has such low visibility in the general population.
    Dave

  2. #2 Mark
    November 20, 2008

    Dear Celeste,

    Sorry to hear of this tragic death. Maybe OSHA should require that after a death the employers must post large signs visible to the public announcing that a workplace death has occurred. These signs would have to remain for some time – 30-90 days. This would help to make these deaths public and counter the common signs announcing no accidents in XX days or man-hours.

    Mark

  3. #3 Jim
    November 22, 2008

    Celeste –

    Our thoughts go out to Brother Montano’s family and to you and all others involved.

    As you know when we loose a union sister or brother in a workplace fatality or another worker is killed at a USW represented workplace – it strikes all of us that work for the union’s health, safety and environment department deeply. We know that the emotions and concerns are great. We find comfort in our efforts to improve workplace and worker health & safety in the USW represented workplaces and beyond…

    Best regards & in solidarity,
    Jim Frederick
    USW HSE Department