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Subcontractor crushed to death at Kent construction site

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Barberton subcontractor Russell Hirschfelt, 49, died Tuesday after being crushed between a backhoe and a stack of concrete slabs. The Lockhart Concrete construction worker was walking between the two at Kent Central Gateway transit center when the machine moved and pinned him.

Hirschfelt was taken to Akron City Hospital after suffering blunt force trauma to the pelvis at 10:45 a.m. He died at 6:17 p.m., according to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office in Akron. An autopsy will be conducted today.

It's too early in the investigation to say if fines and penalties will be levied as a result of the death, says Julie Weis, acting area director in the Cleveland office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA has six months to conduct an investigation. Meanwhile, the construction site is expected to resume on Thursday after Lockheed suspended work by choice on Wednesday.

Being caught in or between objects is one of the top four causes of construction worker fatalities, according to OSHA. Two years ago, 751 construction workers died. Three out of five were caused by electrocution, falls, being struck by objects, and getting caught in or between objects.

Ground broke at Portage Area Regional Transit Agency’s $26 million transportation center in April 2011 thanks to a $20 million federal transportation grant. The facility is expected to open in 2013.

PARTA is participating fully in OSHA’s investigation, says director of marketing and public service Frank Hairston. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and fellow workers.”

If you or a loved one have been injured in a construction site accident, you should contact a construction site accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident and before making a statement.

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    Very tragic. Thank you for posting.