Construction worker remembered in East Boston vigil

OSHA investigating fatal fall at apartment building construction site

BOSTON — Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration puts out its list of the Ten Most Violated Regulations. And for 2021, for the eleventh straight year, ‘Fall Protection - General Requirements’ topped the list, with 5,295 violations -- far ahead of the second-place most violated regulation, ‘Respiratory Protection’ at 2,527 violations.

The list came out one week after Fernando Rafael Augusto Da Silva fell to his death at a construction site on Sumner Street in East Boston. The cause of that fall has not been determined. While OSHA investigates, work on the 42-unit apartment building has ceased.

Thursday, MassCOSH, a local worker safety organization, and others held a vigil/protest outside Maverick Square station in Da Silva’s honor.

“In Massachusetts we lose between 50 and 70 workers a year as a result of workplace tragedies,” said Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, executive director of MassCOSH. “Often times these tragedies are the result of cutting corners or not providing the right training, not providing the right health and safety protections.”

Sugerman-Brozan said, thus, the sad thing is almost all these so-called workplace ‘accidents’ are preventable.

“This is a very sad day,” she said. “And it is sadly not the last.”

Construction worker Dominic Desiata attended the vigil, as well. He remarked to the crowd on the large number of big projects he sees going up around the city. “Whether I’m working on them or someone I know is working on them or I live near them, I’m hearing more and more about death.”

Desiata said construction sites carry inherent dangers that require communal buy-in when it comes to safety. “There’s sharp edges, there’s heavy things, there’s serious equipment,” he said.

There are also many, many injuries that the public never hears about, said Sugerman-Brozan. And, she said, there is often retaliation against workers who speak up against employers violating OSHA standards.

That’s illegal, she noted. But it happens.

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