Updated: Lakefront construction worker dies on campus, officials say

Patrick Svitek/Daily Senior Staffer
Indiana construction worker Michael Kerr died today from injuries suffered after a crane knocked a beam from the sixth floor of Northwestern's new Music and Communication Building, currently under construction.

Patrick Svitek, Managing Editor

A construction worker died this morning after he was struck by a falling beam at the lakefront construction site of the new Music and Communication Building, officials said.

The 57-year-old man was hit in the chest and head by a 16-foot, 70-pound beam after a crane knocked it off the sixth floor shortly after 7 a.m., Evanston police said.

The worker was taken to Evanston Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:55 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The medical examiner’s office has identified the man as Michael Kerr of the 2400 block of Hart Street in Dyer, Ind.

University spokesman Al Cubbage said the death was an accident. No foul play was involved, according to police.

“Northwestern extends its sympathies to his family and fellow workers,” Cubbage said in an email to The Daily.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into Schaumburg, Ill.-based Power Construction Company, the contractor for the project, OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said. The agency investigates most accidents that result in a death in the workplace and by law has six months to complete its inquiry.

Jeff Karp, president of Power Construction Company, did not return multiple requests for comment today.

Officials said work has been suspended at the construction site, which was empty this evening, except for a few men in hardhats walking around yellow tape near its border with the lakefront.

— Patrick Svitek