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Work suspended at transit site after man dies in accident

In April 2011, officials with the Portage Area Regional Transit Agency broke ground on a $26 million transportation center. Previously, it was expected to open in 2013, but a recent construction accident may be delaying work on the project.

According to reports, a 49-year-old male construction worker lost his life around 6 p.m. after being involved in an accident around 11 a.m. on the same day. The 49-year-old, from Barberton, Ohio, was walking between a track hoe and some slabs of concrete when the machine moved. He was then stuck between the excavator and the concrete.

The man's employer will be investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, according to Cleveland's acting area director for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. An investigation into the accident is ongoing and may take months to complete. A compliance officer with OSHA visited the site on the day of the accident and has reportedly been back since.

An OSHA official said that it is too early to determine if citations or fines will be given to the companies involved. Currently, there is not enough documentation to cite anyone. Officials are unsure if PARTA or the general contractor working on the site will be included in the investigation. If so, they may be found liable for the death of the worker.

The director of marketing and public service for PARTA said that work has been suspended at the site while the investigation continues. The transit company, along with the contractor and subcontractor, could be on the hook for a wrongful death lawsuit or workers' compensation for the victim's family.

Source: Kent Patch, "UPDATE: Worker Dies After Accident at PARTA Construction Site," Matt Fredmonsky, Mar. 28, 2012

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