Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2014

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Echelon latest Strip construction site to claim life

A journeyman carpenter died Monday morning at the Echelon construction site on the Las Vegas Strip.

Lyndal Bates, 49, of Tempe, Ariz., became the 12th worker to die in a construction accident on the Strip in less than 19 months. It is the first fatality at Echelon, a $4.8 billion multitowered Boyd Gaming project, where work began a year ago.

Bates was an employee of Marnell Corrao Associates, the general contractor of Echelon Tower, the main hotel.

Bates started his shift at 5 Monday morning. Officials say he was dismantling scaffolding at the basement level of Echelon Tower, working about 12 feet in the air, and had tied his safety harness to a piece of scaffolding. When he detached that same piece of scaffolding, he was pulled off and hit his head on the ground, officials said.

The Fire Department was called at 7:20 a.m.

Bates had been a member of the carpenters union for 11 years, said Marc Furman, who oversees local carpenters unions as the head of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. He was married with three adult children, Furman said. His brother, also a carpenter, worked on safety at Echelon.

The project includes five hotels — each with its own general contractor and each in a different stage of construction across the 87-acre site. About 800 workers are divided between two shifts at the site. Tishman Construction is overseeing the project, which is to open all at once in 2010.

In response to Monday’s tragedy, Marnell, Boyd and Tishman issued a joint statement that said worker safety is their “highest priority.”

“All of our site workers deserve the safest workplace possible,” the statement said. “We will continue to take whatever measures are necessary to keep them safe as this project moves forward.”

The companies said they were halting construction at Echelon on Monday out of respect for the fallen worker and his family.

The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation and would not comment on the death.

On April 4 the agency initiated an investigation of Marnell at Echelon when a carpenter was hit in the head by a falling piece of equipment. The worker was hospitalized but survived the head injury, and Nevada OSHA did not issue citations following the incident.

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