Suffolk Construction Pauses All Boston Projects for Safety Review After Building Collapse

A spokesperson for the construction company confirmed the shutdown, saying company officials have called for a "Safety Standdown" to review existing safety standards and procedures

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Suffolk Construction on Thursday voluntarily halted work at all of its project sites in Boston following a building collapse at a work site at the former Edison Power Plant that left three workers injured -- one critically -- on Wednesday.

In a separate incident Thursday, a worker at another Suffolk site on East Canton Street fell 30 feet. That worker is expected to survive.

A spokesperson for the construction company confirmed the shutdown, saying company officials have called for a "Safety Standdown" starting Thursday afternoon through all of Friday to review existing safety standards and procedures.

A worker fell 30 feet at a construction site in Boston's South End; a day earlier, three workers were hurt at a site in South Boston.

"This is a voluntary action on the part of Suffolk. We strive daily to fulfill our continuing commitment to safe operations, demonstrate compassion for our employees and trade partners, and keep our projects safe in every way. This effort will reenergize and bolster that very strong commitment," an email from company officials reads.

The company is also working with OSHA and other authorities to investigate the incident at the former power plant site in South Boston. Crews were removing asbestos from the former power plant at 776 Summer St., in preparation of the 1898 building's demolition, when the building collapse occurred.

Two people who were injured were immediately removed, but a third worker was pinned under a 30-foot section of catwalk flooring. The 33-year-old was eventually removed and taken to a hospital with what were described as critical injuries.

Retired construction worker Joe Cappuccio laid down flowers in honor of the three people who were injured Wednesday at the power plant renovation site.

"It's a very sad day for workers across the country, around the world," said Cappuccio. "To see this happen here is an absolute disgrace."

People who live in the area of Thursday's fall say they heard workers screaming and saw the first responders rush in.

"It is heartbreaking. I mean, they work so hard, and it's such a dangerous job," said one woman who was visiting family on East Canton Street Thursday. "You just hope that they use all the safety precautions and try to ensure that the workers are safe."

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health released its 2021 report in April, noting 62 workers had died on the job – up from 45 the previous year. Fourteen workers died from falls, slips and trips, and nine from contact with objects or equipment.

"It's very important for workers to learn their rights about worker's compensation if they have an accident," said MASSCOSH Immigrant Workers Center Director Milagros Barreto. "Thirty percent of the accidents that happened last year ended up in deaths."

Suffolk Construction has a presence in at least 10 major U.S. cities and has been operating 30-plus project sites in Boston.

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