Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials have launched an investigation into an incident at Baylor University earlier this month in which a construction worker fell four stories through a refuse chute and fractured his skull.
Jose Vicente Campuzano, a 23-year-old construction worker from Waco, remains hospitalized in serious condition after his fall Sept. 1 from the top of Martin Hall at Baylor left him with life-threatening injuries.
Campuzano, who works for Northstar Demolition and Remediation Co., underwent surgery and doctors inserted a steel plate in his skull, said Campuzano’s attorney, Vuk Vujasinovic, of Houston.
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said Baylor officials are aware of the incident. She deferred additional comment to officials at Whiting-Turner, the general contractor overseeing the renovation of the 62-year-old men’s dormitory at 1101 S. Fifth St.
Oscar Vasquez, a supervisor at Whiting-Turner in San Antonio, declined comment Monday.
Gary Thibodeaux, safety director at Northstar, did not return phone messages left at his Beaumont office Monday.
Juan J. Rodriguez, an OSHA public affairs director in Dallas, would confirm only that OSHA officials are investigating the incident in which Campuzano was injured.
“We cannot comment on anything further while the investigation is ongoing, but if violations of OSHA standards are found, OSHA can issue citations that could carry monetary penalties,” Rodriguez said.
Vujasinovic said he sent letters Monday to officials at Baylor and the two construction companies informing them that he represents Campuzano and asking them to preserve evidence at the scene and to allow him to visit the site as soon as possible.
“We are going to find out why Mr. Vicente fell four stories while working on the Martin Residential Hall refurbishment project, and hold accountable anyone who caused that to happen,” Vujasinovic said.
Campuzano was assisting in the removal of asbestos from Martin Hall when he fell four stories through the refuse chute to the ground, Vujasinovic said.
“At this time, we have no idea how or why this happened,” he said.
The building opened in 1954 and is named for 1900 Baylor graduate D.K. “Dock” Martin, who was appointed chairman of the Texas Highway Commission in the 1920s by then-Texas Gov. Pat Neff. The dorm is closed this year during the renovation project.
Vujasinovic represented the family of Jose Dario Suarez, a 55-year-old construction worker from Manor who drowned in 2014 while working on the pedestrian bridge over the Brazos River that leads to Baylor’s McLane Stadium.
In April, a Harris County jury awarded Suarez’s family $17.72 million, ruling that general contractor Austin Bridge and Road Co. was responsible for Suarez’s death.
Baylor was named as a defendant in the original pleadings, but 151st State District Judge Mike Engelhart dismissed the school from the lawsuit last year.
Suarez drowned Jan. 28, 2014, after a hydraulic lift he and another worker, Terry Watson, were strapped to rolled from a modular barge into the Brazos River as the men worked on the bridge.
Watson was able to free himself and swim to the surface, where he was pulled from the cold river.