Federal workplace safety regulators are investigating an incident at a construction site near Rittenhouse Square that resulted in the death of a worker.
So far, few details are known about Wednesday deaths near Sansom and South 24th streets, where five luxury homes are being built by developers Bernier Real Estate Group and OCF Realty. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, a construction worker fell and was pronounced dead around 11:40 a.m.
On Thursday, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office identified the worker as Siarhei Marhunou, a former resident of Grodno, Belarus, who has resided in Philadelphia for two years. According to a GoFundMe started by his wife, Marhunou leaves a three-month-old child. The Inquirer could not immediately reach Marhunou’s widow.
Ori Feibush, president of the OCF, said he arrived at the site shortly after learning of the crash. He said he was waiting to hear more about the circumstances of the death, which is currently being investigated by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“It’s hard to know what could have prevented this without knowing exactly what happened,” said Feibush, who said it was the first worker fatality on the OCF project. The investigator could not immediately confirm this through OSHA’s death database, which only lists the deceased’s direct employers.
According to an OSHA spokesperson, Marhunou was employed by a company called DBCI LLC. DBCI had been contracted to work on the project by Huntingdon Valley-based construction company Hammers Contractors. Hammers had, in turn, been contracted by the Fitler Construction Group, which managed the construction for OCF.
It is unclear what work DBCI LLC was doing on the project when the death occurred, how they were hired, or where the company’s headquarters are located.
Feibush said he was unaware that Hammers Contractors, a contractor the developer had worked with on dozens of projects and described as “accomplished professionals,” had hired DBCI. The OCF does not allow contractors to hire other companies for additional work, he said.
Hammers Contractors sent inquiries to DBCI, although it could not offer contact, and later claimed the company knew nothing about the incident. Efforts to find a working number for DBCI failed.
OSHA has six months to complete an investigation and release its findings. Feibush said his company and contractors at the scene Wednesday were cooperating with federal investigators.