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I-Team: Falling debris latest problem at Suffolk Construction sites in Boston

Construction company on Seaport project has had several safety issues this year
Construction company on Seaport project has had several safety issues this year 02:16

BOSTON - Experts tell the WBZ I-Team that accidents involving falling debris from construction sites are rare. They say builders normally take a lot of precautions to make sure loose material doesn't cause an incident like the one in the Seaport Wednesday.

"It's not a very common occurrence," said construction safety consultant Peter Stavros.

The 16-story complex at 400 Summer St.and 391 Congress St. is on track to combine lab space with retail space and even a public walkway. Stavros says it's one of the windiest spots in the city, the Seaport District, and a place where project managers normally take extra steps. "Routinely, floor-by-floor, they go through it every hour, every half-hour, to look for things like that and to protect the workers on site and the people walking around the site," he said.

General safety precautions include fencing around exposed edges; in some cases, more solid edge boards are used to contain the sides. Tarps are often fastened down over loose material, and the use of hydraulic lifts is limited in high wind conditions.

It puts Suffolk Construction in the spotlight again, after the company had a self-imposed temporary work stoppage at all of its projects across Boston in May. That was after several workers were injured in a couple of accidents in South Boston.

"Suffolk has a good reputation for staying on top of stuff like this," said Stavros. "But things happen."

Boston Inspectional Services ordered a work stoppage at the site  after investigators checked it out. Mayor Michelle Wu called a meeting with unions and construction companies Thursday to discuss safety.

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