Construction worker dies in accident at San Diego County high school

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A 30-year-old construction worker died in a fall Wednesday afternoon at Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, authorities said.

The ironworker was connecting beams on a 30-foot platform during construction of the school’s new Event Center when he was struck by a beam and fell to the ground, suffering fatal injuries, authorities said.

Medics took the worker to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, where doctors pronounced him dead, San Diego sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Cook said in a statement. His name was not immediately released.

A second worker suffered minor injuries in the accident, according to Paolo Laverde, a spokeswoman for Cal/OSHA, which is investigating.

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Grossmont Union High School District officials released a statement saying the second worker was also taken to a hospital.

The fall was reported just before 2 p.m. at the campus on Sweetwater Springs Boulevard, sheriff’s Lt. Amber Baggs said.

Earlier in the day, officials from the high school and school district held a “topping out” ceremony to celebrate the Event Center’s highest beam being hoisted into place.

The $17.4 million Event Center project, funded by Proposition U and Measure BB, is expected to be a “state-of-the-art and energy-efficient multi-use facility” intended for student performances, as well as school and community meetings and special events. Construction is scheduled to be complete by 2020.

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The San Diego office of Cal/OSHA, which investigates workplace injuries and deaths, was informed of Wednesday’s accident and launched an investigation, Laverde said.

Crisis counselors will be available on Monte Vista’s campus Thursday for anyone affected by the accident, including any workers, students or school staff who witnessed the accident, Cook said.

“No students or staff were involved in the accident,” school district officials said in a statement in which they also expressed their “deepest condolences to the family, friends and coworkers” of the ironworker who died.

“The construction site will remain secured until the investigation is complete,” the statement said. District officials also said they were cooperating with all investigations.

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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