California Worker Dies In Fall At Upgrade of Palo Alto's Tallest Building | 2022-08-25 | Engineering News-Record

2022-08-26 19:07:19 By : Ms. Penny Xiong

A worker died after falling during overnight construction at this building on University Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif.

Photo "Palo Alto" by rocor

A construction worker died Aug. 24 after falling at a jobsite in Palo Alto, Calif. State officials are investigating the death of the man, who was an employee of specialty contractor F.D. Thomas Inc. 

Palo Alto police say they received a report that the worker, later identified as 43-year-old Christopher Paul Smith of Antioch, had fallen down a shaft inside a building on University Avenue during overnight construction work. California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) officials say the man fell from a scaffold. 

Officers and paramedics rendered medical aid, but Smith was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. There is no evidence of a crime, city police say.

Cal/OSHA is investigating the death. The agency says it has up to six months to issue any citations over an incident, and that its investigations typically take about four months to complete. 

Representatives of F.D. Thomas did not immediately return calls for comment. According to its website, the specialty contractor provides services related to industrial painting and specialty coatings, waterproofing, scaffolding, insulation, among other offerings. Based in Central Point, Ore., F.D. Thomas is a subsidiary of ASRC Industrial Services, which ranks at No. 122 on ENR’s 2022 Top 400 Contractors list. 

City of Palo Alto Planning & Development Services records indicate the building where the accident occurred is a 15-story, 234-ft-tall office tower completed in 1966. It is the tallest building in Palo Alto. The development also has a pair of connected two-story commercial wings and a three-level underground parking garage. 

Plans for a seismic strengthening called for an exterior court renovation and replacement of the curtain wall on the first three stories, records show. The curtain wall was to be replaced with an in-kind glazing. The lobby was also going to be renovated, and an enclosure for exterior plaza stairs to the garage was going to be glazed, among other work. 

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