A labor union leader described the incident that led to the death of a construction worker over the weekend at the Bellagio fountains as a “freak accident.”
Tommy White, secretary/treasurer of Laborer’s International Union of North America Local 872, said he’s been told by workers at the site that an issue with a “quickie saw” Saturday led to the accident that killed 37-year-old Tizoc Antonio of Las Vegas.
“It wasn’t a safety issue, all the safety protocol was in place, it’s just that the blade bound up on the quickie saw and it ran up on the (steel) column and the saw kicked back at him,” White said. “I’ve seen those saws kick back … that last place you want to be is in the way of that saw kicking backwards.”
Cut-off saws, nicknamed “quickie saws,” are portable and used to make quick cuts on various materials on construction sites. They have the potential to be dangerous because they have unguarded blades that operate at high speeds, according to the Missouri Department of Labor.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal Tuesday that Carma Group is the general contractor on the project, with Standard Steel listed as the employer. OSHA has open inspections with both companies tied to the accident, spokeswoman Teri Williams noted. Williams was unable to confirm the details of the accident, citing the open investigation.
Representatives from Carma didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment via phone and email Tuesday morning.
Crews are constructing temporary spectator grandstands at the Bellagio for November’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
White noted there are no members of his union working directly for Carma at the site, but some members have worked for them as sub-contractors.
“All my subs (subcontractors) say that they’re (Carma) a good general contractor,” White said. “”I don’t think an issue like this could’ve been prevented. It wasn’t fall protection, it wasn’t anything that could’ve been put up to stop it from happening. It’s a shame and our hearts go out to the family.”