Worker death halts construction of Purple Line extension
An inquest into the death of a worker on Wednesday halted construction on part of the Metro’s Purple Line extension.
A 40-year-old construction worker at the Mid-Wilshire underground site died after being struck by a service vehicle used to transport parts and people.
“All work on the project has ceased until further notice,” Erin Holin, spokeswoman for co-entrepreneur Skansa-Traylor-Shea, said in an email. The joint venture contracted with Metro to build nearly four miles of the Purple Line extension.
“Skanska-Traylor-Shea is cooperating with local authorities and will conduct a full internal investigation,” Holin said.
The death of the man, who has not yet been named, marks the first construction fatality for Metro in 10 years, according to the agency.
“We continue to work with officials from all regulatory agencies to gather information about the incident and determine what happened,” Chief Executive Stephanie Wiggins told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board Thursday. .
The last fatal incident occurred in 2012, when a contract construction worker Adolfo Figueroa was killed while working on a 405 Freeway Sepulveda Pass improvement project, Metro said. Figueroa was crushed by an unsecured 3,000 pound steel beam when she fell from a flatbed trailer. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health initially fined the contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., $36,000 for failure.
Metro is on a massive construction spree, with plans to double its rail systems over the next three decades. Five rail projects are underway, including the Purple Line Extension, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and a connector to Los Angeles International Airport.
Metro opened the nine-mile extension of the Purple Line, also known as the D Line, in 2014 to connect Koreatown with the Westside. The project, spread over three phases, has fallen behind schedule and faced cost overruns. Wednesday’s fatal accident occurred on the first stage of the segment, which is scheduled to open in 2024.
Subway construction reports show the $3.1 billion section of the project had an injury rate below the national average.
Metro staff are more concerned about safety on another stage of the project, operated in a joint venture by Tutor Perini Corp. and O&G Industries, where injury rates have been above the national average since November.
“We are not happy with this,” Metro manager Sameeh Ghaly told a board committee last month.
The agency is working with the contractor to improve the training.