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Vernon Hills man dies after construction accident at south suburban high school

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A 63-year-old Vernon Hills man died Wednesday following a construction-related accident at a south suburban high school.

Officials at Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233 said a masonry worker died following “an accident while working on the science building project” at the school.

A report from the Cook County medical examiner’s office stated an autopsy for Ronald P. Simonson is slated for today.

The accident happened Wednesday morning and Simonson was transported to South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest where he was pronounced dead just before noon, records show.

“We extend our deepest condolences to his family, co-workers and friends,” District 233 Superintendent Scott Wakeley wrote in a letter to parents. “Our hearts go out to them as they cope with this loss.”

Wakeley’s letter indicated the construction site was only accessible to construction workers and “there was very limited opportunity for students or staff to have seen the accident based on its location at the construction site.”

School officials said grief counseling resources were being made available to staff and students.

A U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman said an investigation into Simonson’s death is underway and the federal agency has six months to issue its findings and assess any fines.

OSHA officials said Simonson worked for Bensenville-based Joe’s Masonry, Inc., which had one prior citation in 2012 for a “lack of guardrails on a scaffold.”

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