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Construction worker dies in accident at McCarran

Updated Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 | 5:32 p.m.

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UPDATED STORY: Worker who died in accident at McCarran identified

A construction worker at the new Terminal 3 roadways project at McCarran International Airport died Monday afternoon.

The man was a laborer working for Las Vegas Paving Corp., said Randy Walker, Clark County director of aviation.

"On behalf of the Clark County Department of Aviation, I want to personally extend our collective condolences to the friends, family and co-workers affected by this tragic event," Walker said in a statement.

The worker has not been identified. He was 25 years old and from Hawaii, said Joe Taylor, a representative of the Laborer Union's Labor Management Fund. He had been a member of the local union since October, Taylor said.

According to Taylor, the laborer was working on a ditch at the terminal roadways site at about 1 p.m. when the operator of a Bobcat earth mover lost control of his vehicle and ran the worker over.

The reason why the operator lost control of the machine has not been determined. The incident is under investigation by the Nevada Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

The worker was rushed to a local hospital where he died about an hour later, said Clark County fire department spokesman Scott Allison. This was the first work-related fatal accident on a Department of Aviation job in more than 16 years, according to Walker.

From October 1992 through December 2008, contractors worked more than 15.6 million hours on aviation projects with 110 "lost-time" incidents -- those that require a worker to miss time at work -- reported, Walker said. That's a frequency rate of 1.405, compared to the national average for 1994 through 1997 of 2.95 "lost-time" incidents.

"Construction is an inherently dangerous activity, and even the best safety programs can't completely protect the health of those who work in this field," Walker said. "Today's tragedy is an unwanted reminder of the risks which we've previously been able to avoid, and through continued diligence hope will never occur again.”

Perini Building Company, a general contractor that saw rash of deaths on its Las Vegas Strip projects, was in July awarded the $1.2 billion Terminal 3 project at the airport. But Perini was not the contractor for the Terminal 3 roadways project where the laborer died Monday.

Like CityCenter, the airport's Terminal 3 projects are highly congested work, say several people familiar with the site.

"You have a certain amount of real estate and try to get as much done with as many pieces of equipment as possible," Taylor said.

However, Taylor said he sees nothing to indicate congestion played a role in today's death. He said he has not heard of any other safety problems at airport projects.

"This is the first time we've heard of an incident like this or a flag has been raised," Taylor said. "It has been running very good as far as we know."

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Statement from Las Vegas Paving Corporation:

"Las Vegas Paving Corporation is deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of life of one of our valued employees on the McCarran Airport Terminal 3 project. As a company, we place workplace safety as 'priority one' and strive to provide our employees with a safe and secure workplace. Unfortunately, and as with all construction projects, the possibility of unforeseen accidents resulting in bodily injury and death is ever present.

"Las Vegas Paving will be working closely with the appropriate authorities to determine how this tragic accident occurred. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and co-workers of the worker involved."

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