VOSHA investigating after crane operator killed at wind project site

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SEARSBURG — The Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the Tuesday death of a man at the Deerfield Wind construction site.

David Sprague, 59, of Windham, Maine was electrocuted when the crane he was operating came into contact with high tension power lines, according to Vermont State Police. He was pronounced dead at the Putnam Road site shortly after 11 a.m.

Information about VOSHA's investigation won't be released until it's concluded, according to Stephen Monahan, director of the state Department of Labor's Workers' Compensation & Safety Division. By law, incident investigations must be concluded within six months.

"All employers on the site at the time of the accident are part of the investigation," Monahan said on Friday.

The 15-turbine wind power project on Green Mountain National Forest land in Searsburg and Readsboro is overseen by Oregon-based developer Avangrid Renewables.

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A spokesman for Avangrid, when reached by the Banner on Friday, directed an inquiry to the project's civil contractor, Reed & Reed Inc.

John Cooney, vice president for the Woolwich, Maine-based firm, described Sprague as a beloved employee and described how his death has been felt by everyone with the company. Employees' thoughts and prayers are with Sprague and his family, he said.

The firm's first priority was to secure the scene and safety of all employees on the site. "We are conducting a thorough internal investigation as well as cooperating with all authorities in their investigation," Cooney said.

Green Mountain Power responded to turn off power to the area for a time after the incident.

Ground was broken on the 30-megawatt project last September. It's expected to go online in early 2018.

Reach staff writer Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.


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