By Anna Toth
A 56-year-old construction worker was killed while working on the new Washkewicz College of Engineering Building on Chester Avenue on Wednesday Oct. 11.
Joseph Matulis died after being struck by a piece of sheet metal that dropped from an upper level of the project. The construction of the new engineering building was being overseen by Gilbane Building Company.
Wesley Cotter, director of corporate communications at Gilbane Building Company confirms that 911 was called right away, but Matulis had died on arrival. The death is being investigated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as local law enforcement.
In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Cotter made it clear that the Gilbane Building Company was saddened to hear about the passing of Matulis and would do everything they could to prevent another incident like this.
“Preventions of accidents is really our best tool in keeping people safe and sending them back home in the condition they arrived in,” Cotter said.
Cotter went on to explain that safety was one of Gilbane’s top priorities on all projects across the country. The accident and a review of policies will be addressed over the next few days on all their projects.
“We have a number of preventative policies in place that keep workers out of areas that are underneath work that’s being done overhead,” Cotter said, “Over the next few days, we’ll be conducting a stand-down on every company project that’s being done to stop and talk about this.”
While he was focused a lot on how to prevent another tragedy like this from happening, Cotter did express sorrow at the passing of Matulis several times during the conversation.
“We care about all the people that work on the job sites,” Cotter said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Joseph’s family and we wish them the strength needed to get through this.”