Witness Raises Concern Over OU Construction Worker Death - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Witness Raises Concern Over OU Construction Worker Death

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A witness says scaffolding came loose as a construction worker on the OU campus was walking on it. The worker fell and died from his injuries. A witness says scaffolding came loose as a construction worker on the OU campus was walking on it. The worker fell and died from his injuries.
NORMAN, Oklahoma -

A man who witnessed the fall that killed a construction worker on the University of Oklahoma campus is talking exclusively to News 9.

The incident happened Monday. It took OU officials three days to report the death to News 9 and other local media outlets. At the south end of campus, construction has stopped and an investigation is underway. Michael Kotzum, who works nearby, says he can't get the images out of his head.

"As I was watching [the construction worker], some of the boards that he was walking on kicked out from underneath him, and he fell from the fifth floor," Kotzum said.

9/12/2013 Related Story: Construction Worker Dies On OU Campus

Kotzum called 911. First responders were at the site in minutes, but it was already too late. Kotzum says the victim, who has not been identified, was carrying two boards before things went wrong.

"As he was walking by, I guess they had scaffolding made out of wood or something the that nature that came loose," said Kotzum. "He fell backwards, and then he hit the steel beams as he was coming down."

University spokesperson Catherine Bishop says an investigation is being conducted by state regulators and Lippert Brothers Construction out of Oklahoma City. Bishop has made clear that, even though the death happened on campus, the site is under the control of Lippert Brothers.

News 9's call to the company was not immediately returned Thursday. Kotzum says the company has some explaining to do.

"Working at that height like that… I was a little surprised that they didn't have a restraint harness," said Kotzum. "It wasn't just a board, but it was a couple of boards that were resting on top of what looked kind of like a sawhorse."

News 9 is waiting on OU to release a police incident report and 911 calls.

Lippert Construction released this statement to News 9:

We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and our condolences are with the family of Samuel Rodriguez-Pineda.

Mr. Rodriguez-Pineda was employed by Godwin Formwork Solutions, a subcontractor on the project.

As construction manager, we are diligently working with GFS, OSHA, the University of Oklahoma and an independent investigator to determine the cause of the accident.

Lippert Brothers, Inc. has maintained an excellent safety record throughout our 93 year history and it remains our top priority.  

We will make the accident report available to the public at the first available opportunity.

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