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Worker dies after accident in Boyd Law Building

BY REID CHANDLER and MITCHELL SCHMIDT | SEPTEMBER 02, 2010 7:20 AM

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A private contractor working on the Boyd Law Building died Wednesday after being injured in a workplace accident.

Tom Fosdick, 49, was involved in the accident Monday. A call to police dispatch occurred at 6:49 a.m.

While Fosdick's family was unable to be reached for comment, one University of Iowa coach remembers him fondly.

Hawkeye diving coach Bob Rydze first met Fosdick in 1975. As an aspiring diver, Fosdick entered Rydze's Hawkeye Diving Club and made quite an impression.

"He was a damn good diver," Rydze said, referring to Fosdick not as a student but as a friend. "And he will be sorely missed."

Rydze, now in his 36th year at the university, remembered Fosdick as a friendly and popular member of the team.

"He was always the guy who kept things light and jovial," he said, noting that Fosdick was a member of the 1981 team that stopped Indiana's 20-year championship winning streak.

Fosdick and Rydze remained in touch, he said, and Fosdick was an usher at Rydze's wedding in 1980.
Rydze said he heard of the news of Fosdick's death Wednesday afternoon.

Tom Vander Linden, an executive officer with Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement, said it appeared Fosdick suffered injuries from a fall of approximately 40 feet.

"We sent an investigator as soon as it was heard," Vander Linden said.

David Neil, the labor commissioner of the Iowa Division of Labor Services, said investigation into the incident started on Tuesday morning, and it could take anywhere from six weeks to six months.

"It depends on what's all involved," he said.

Vander Linden said that if the injuries were from a fall, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator would look for anything involving fall protection or reasons for concern.

Swanson Glass Inc., a Clive glazing contractor, was subcontracted by Miron Construction for the job.

"We're saddened by the news, and our prayers go out to [Fosdick's] family," said Craig Uhlenbrauck, Miron's vice president of marketing.

Before this incident, only three reports of construction-related deaths have occurred on UI property, Moore said. The deaths happened in the early 1970s during the construction of Hancher Auditorium.

"Speaking with the family, they are deeply saddened, feeling a huge sense of loss," Moore said.

Fosdick attended the University of Iowa as a member of the swimming and diving team in 1979. He became an organ and tissue donor.

"Even in the face of tragedy, he and his family were able to give the gift of life, and that cannot be underestimated," Moore said.

The family of Fosdick released a statement after his death on Wednesday.

"We are grateful that we as a family were able to say goodbye to him," it said.


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