Death of construction worker hit by falling beam ruled accident

Michael Kerr and his sister Jacquelyn Rowles pose for a photo at the Chicago Air and Water Show last year.

Source: Jacquelyn Rowles

Michael Kerr and his sister Jacquelyn Rowles pose for a photo at the Chicago Air and Water Show last year.

Patrick Svitek, Managing Editor

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The death of a construction worker struck by a falling beam on campus Thursday has been ruled an accident, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Michael Kerr, 57, died from multiple injuries after he was hit by the 16-foot, 70-pound beam at the lakefront construction site of the new Music and Communication Building, the medical examiner’s office said this afternoon.

The fatal accident triggered an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that could last six months. The agency is inspecting the construction site, interviewing employees and witnesses and checking to see what safety practices were used by the project’s contractor, Power Construction Company of Schaumburg, Ill.

“Our only statement at this time is that the details of the accident are being investigated and Power is working in cooperation with OSHA,” said Jeff Karp, Power Construction president and CEO, in an email to The Daily. “Our thoughts and prayers are for the family and friends of Mr. Kerr.”

Karp said he expects construction to resume Monday.

— Patrick Svitek

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