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ORLANDO-The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office in Tampa, FL opened a formal investigation today in the death of a 36-year-old construction worker whose harness assembly broke as he was working on a rooftop scafford 60 feet above the Orange County Convention Center’s floor.

OSHA and convention center officials declined comment. But subcontractors working on the $750 million, 972,000-sf expansion of the four million-sf (gross) center, tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity, OSHA specifically wants to know why and how a cable holding the harness snapped and caused the death of Scott Clontz on July 20.

The fatality was the first at the Convention Center since the fourth phase addition began in 1999. Contractors are rushing to complete the project by is May 2003 deadline.

The expansion will give the center a total two million sf of exhibit space. Convention center officials say they need the additional exhibit quarters to compete with Las Vegas’s 3.2 million sf and Chicago’s McCormick Hall’s 2.3 million sf of exhibition space.

Clontz worked for the primary general contractor, Hunt Clark Joint Ventures. The venture comprises Hubert, Hunt and Nichols Inc. of Indianapolis, IN and Clark Construction Group Inc. of Bethesda, MD. The local partner is Construct Two Group of Orlando.

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